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Gamethread: White Sox at Cubs

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Lucas Giolito takes the mound in the riveting second game of the spring training Crosstown Cup

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros
Simple Goals: Improving upon a first start, and staying out of the Camelback M*A*S*H unit, are Giolito’s modest aims today.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Well, ugh, this morning’s depressing Camelback Ranch news release concerns Luis Robert, who will be out ten weeks due to a thumb sprain. He was 3-for-10 this spring, with a grand slam. It’s another setback for the Sox in developing their prospects.

Lucas Giolito is the first to take the mound against Kyle Hendricks and the split-squad Chicago Cubs today. This will be Giolito’s second appearance in a spring game, and hopefully it will be a better one. In his first action he went two innings and allowed two hits, walked two batters, and allowed an earned run.

White Sox at Chicago Cubs

Time: 2:05 p.m. CST



Radio: WGN 720

In Giolito’s seven starts as a Chicago White Sox in 2017, his average game score was 61 and he had a WHIP under one, at 0.95. Because of Tommy John surgery, Giolito is no longer the power pitcher that the Washington Nationals drafted in 2012’s first round. However, in his short stint with the Sox, Giolito has proven to be a critical piece of the rebuild.

The pitchers slated to appear after Giolito are Luis Avilan, Juan Minaya, Danny Farquhar, Bruce Rondon, Rob Scahill, Nate Jones, and Xavier Cedeno.

Avilan and Jones have been the most impressive of this reliever group. Both have not allowed an earned run this spring. In the 3 23 innings Avilan has pitched, he has a 0.27 WHIP and seven strikeouts. Meanwhile Jones, who seems to have regained his pre-injury form, has gone three innings with five strikeouts and a 0.83 (beer money reference) WHIP.

Here is the lineup the Sox are trotting out for today’s game:

  • With the exception of Micker Adolfo at DH, this looks to be what the Opening Day lineup should be come March 29.
  • Welington Castillo is off to a slow start this spring, only hitting .200. Last season he was second, behind only Alex Avila, in hard-hit percentage for a catcher, with 39%.
  • Yoan Moncada has raised his batting average over the past week; however, the more impressive aspect of his spring (especially batting leadoff) is that his OBP is .387.

Here is the interesting Cubs lineup from Joe Maddon today:

Super cool and hilarious, right?

  • Kyle Hendricks has faced the Sox four times in his career, and the Pale Hose have been able to get to him. The White Sox have the third-highest batting average against Hendricks, at .325, among MLB teams.
  • Mike Freeman, hitting eighth and playing shortstop, is having himself a spring. His slash line is an eye-popping .560/.621/.800 in 25 at-bats.
  • The Sox are 58-54 all-time against the Cubs in interleague a.k.a Crosstown Cup play, but in 2017, the Cubs were able to bring home the coveted hardware for the first time since 2013.