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Gamethread: White Sox at Astros (ALDS Game 2)

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South Siders look to even the series behind Lucas Giolito, before heading home.

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Hey, remember the AL Wild Card Game 1 win, just a year ago? You can bet winning pitcher Lucas Giolito does.
Scott Strazzante/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

White Sox fans were so loudly disappointed by yesterday’s 6-1 loss to the Houston Astros that Steve Stone had to scold us about it on Twitter.

The good news is that the Chicago White Sox (and their fans) won’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption.

Lucas Giolito will take the hill for the White Sox this afternoon. Giolito may not have been given the ball as the Game 1 starter, but he is arguably the ace of the pitching staff, and just the guy you’d want in a “must-win” situation. There are plenty of reasons to let optimism reign. Giolito has pitched better in away games this season, which could help neutralize the Astros’ impressive lineup. More importantly, Giolito was masterful the last time he faced the Astros, in July, going the full nine innings while allowing only three hits and striking out eight. In fact, in the interest of self-care, why don’t we all take a moment and watch this video of Gio making the Astros’ hitters look silly:

That’s the stuff. Inject that into my veins and play it at my funeral.

Giolito’s counterpart on the Astros will be 27-year-old lefthander Framber Valdez. Valdez’s go-to pitch is a sinking fastball thrown in the mid-90s. If Valdez can work the count to two strikes, look out for the curve ball. It’s pretty gnarly:

In Game 1, the most blaring problem might have been the lack of offense. So, let’s look at how the White Sox lineup has fared against Valdez. While the sample sizes are small, the White Sox may look to their bench players as difference-makers in today’s game. Andrew Vaughn, who will step into the DH role today, has had the most success. Vaughn has gone 3-for-5 with a home run against Valdez. Right behind him is Danny Mendick, who has gone 2-for-5 this season. Tim Anderson and Yoán Moncada each have one career home run when facing Valdez. While he hasn’t faced Valdez this season, Eloy Jiménez hits the snot of out sinkers, so this match up could be just what the doctor ordered for the slumping left fielder.

Here are today’s starting lineups:

Let’s go, White Sox fans!

First, cleanse yourself of yesterday’s frustration with this guided breathing exercise:

When you’re done with that, watch this great hype video by YouTube user The Train Geek. As you watch, remember that this team came by their Divisional Championship honestly and know that they have the talent to go the distance, starting with a win today.

I hope you all have cable because today’s game will be televised on MLB Network. If that option is not available to you, don’t fret, you’re probably better off with Len and DJ’s radio call on ESPN 1000. If you’re at work and can’t get away for the 1:07 p.m. start, you can check back in with us here at South Side Sox for tons of postgame coverage.