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Gamethread: Astros at White Sox (ALDS Game 4)

Carlos Rodón, who looks to help extend the series, takes the mound

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Chicago White Sox
Tough task: The White Sox turn to Carlos Rodón, who looks to help the South Siders force a Game 5.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Due to an offense that caught fire and a bullpen that blanked the Astros down the stretch on Sunday, the White Sox are still alive. Advancing to the ALCS is still a long shot for the South Siders, who must win two straight against Houston. Since the White Sox enter Tuesday’s game with a 2-1 series deficit, they cannot afford any more losses this series. Whichever team advances will have home field advantage against the Red Sox, who beat the Rays, three games to one.

Carlos Rodón will start on the mound for the White Sox in Game 4. Rodón provided a big spark for the starting rotation in the regular season, delivering 132 23 excellent innings. Rodón had a 2.37 ERA, 2.63 xERA, 2.65 FIP, rendering him a 4.9-fWAR player. Shoulder fatigue played a role in his velocity loss in late September, but Rodón has had ample time to rest, as he last pitched on September 29. Despite a drop in fastball velocity (average of 90.9 mph on his 4-seamer that day vs. an average of 95.4 mph overall during the season), Rodón pitched five scoreless innings against the Reds.

Lance McCullers Jr. will be Houston’s starter, and he has had quite the season. McCullers pitched 162 13 innings during the regular season. He posted a 3.16 ERA, 3.39 xERA, 3.52 FIP, and he accumulated 3.3 fWAR. In addition to those strong numbers, the White Sox have been unable to solve him. During the regular season, McCullers had a 2.08 ERA and a 0.769 WHIP against the White Sox. Also, McCullers did even better against them in Game 1 on October 7. During that game, McCullers threw 6 23 shutout innings, and Houston went on to win, 6-1.

Here are today’s starting lineups:

As expected, Tim Anderson, who is 7-for-15 (.467/.467/.467) this series and 16-for-29 (.552/.552/.621) all-time in the playoffs, finds himself leading things off. Luis Robert, who has also been quite valuable for the White Sox (.500/.600/.500 this series), is batting third.

Robert finds himself atop the White Sox leaderboard for Championship Win Probability Added (cWPA). Per Baseball-Reference, Robert has boosted the South Siders’ odds of winning the World Series by 3.9% (.039 cWPA). Leury García is No. 2 on that leaderboard (.016 cWPA), and reliever Ryan Tepera has the bronze medal (.013 cWPA). While García only has a .250 OBP this series, his three-run homer on Sunday gave the White Sox an early lead. That was the biggest play of that game in terms of win probability. García finds himself in the starting lineup, and he will bat eighth today.

The game will start at 1:07 p.m. Central, FS1 will televise it, and ESPN 1000 will have the radio coverage. It is another win-or-go-home game for the White Sox, so let’s have another strong performance on the South Side. For any fans at the game this afternoon, let’s keep the positive vibes going.