The White Sox open a seven-game home stand tonight, one beginning with a four-game series with the Tigers, which they’ll be playing without Andrew Vaughn. Vaughn was put on the COVID IL list earlier today. The Sox say he’s asymptomatic, so he could be back in action quite soon. His replacement is Gavin Sheets, who is hitting .318 in Charlotte.
It’s tempting to say neither Vaughn nor any other regulars are much needed against the woeful Detroiters, calling the opponents Puddytats or Kittens or some such (who? me? do that?), but the Tigers have developed serious claws of late, with a three-game sweep of the Yankees and a split with the Brewers. They scored 10 runs on Tuesday, despite that seeming impossibility for a team that’s hitting .227, featuring no one with more seven homers.
This should be an interesting pitching matchup. Lance Lynn, reprieved from a short-rest start by Mother Nature yesterday, will be twirling for the Sox (did I really say “twirling”? goodness). His 1.20 ERA has been safe from the Tigers this season, and his last outing was five innings of shutout ball against the Orioles, with no walks and seven K’s.
On the mound for Detroit will be Casey Mize, whose 3.28 ERA includes a six-inning, three earned run outing against the Sox April 29 (philosophical question: why is a six-inning, three earned effort a “quality start,” but a a 4.50 ERA officially known as p*** -poor?). That was the tail end of a fairly miserable April, since which Mize has been excellent. In five May appearances, he’s gone 31 innings, with just six runs, 17 hits, 10 walks, and 27 whifferoonies. Mize held the Yankees to one run with seven K’s in five innings last time out. That’s while using five pitches, mostly four-seamer, slider, sinker.
Mize will be facing a White Sox lineup that is without Vaughn and Nick Madrigal, but which continues to feature the badly-slumping Yermín Mercedes in the 5-slot.
On paper, that’s a lineup of sterner stuff than that of the Tigers, which includes old buddy Nomar Mazara, of all people, and only Jeimer Candelario hitting over .251.
Schoop homered twice on Tuesday to take the team lead, with seven. Backup catcher (well, back-up to the backup) Eric Haase also put two in the seats, but none of that hot hand malarkey for A.J. Hinch, who has Jake Rogers behind the plate instead.
The Sox are big favorites, but then, so were the Yankees.
A beautiful night for baseball. First pitch 7:10 p.m. Central, usual NBCSCH, WMVP combo. I’ll be back with your postgame, accompanied by Ashley Sanders on the Six Pack of Stats.