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Know Your Enemy: Houston Astros

Still here, still trash

2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Photo by Noam Galai/FilmMagic

Maybe if they weren’t so committed to the line of “we did nothing wrong when we cheated,” people would hate them less. Instead of actually punishing players for cheating their way to a World Series, MLB has decided they’d rather talk about punishing players for doing the egregious act of opting-out of the All-Star Game. So Carlos Correa may have gotten punished for something in a roundabout way.

But I digress ...

Last meeting

The Astros took the last series in Houston in a what can only be described in a painful manner. The White Sox looked like the 2016 team reincarnated. If you removed the cheating, it’d be easier to swallow that the Astros are a good team. The series told the White Sox that winning the American League is going to be harder than expected. The Astros simply played better against the White Sox who, despite significant injuries, have stayed on track to achieving the lofty championship-level goals set in spring training.

The offense took a break that series, scoring eight runs in four games. Lance Lynn lasted four innings. Dallas Keuchel gave up six runs (a season high), three earned, in 2 23 innings against his former team. Dylan Cease and Matt Foster gave up homers in the 10-2 stomping to open the series.

All in all, it was a terrible weekend. insert fart noise here

How’s it going?

There’s been an All-Star Game, a draft, and some other stuff in the past month. The Astros are atop the AL West, three up on Oakland, with a 55-36 record. There was some dumb jersey-ripping shenanigans against the Yankees right before the All-Star break.

There’s a well-rounded offense to face this weekend. Jose Altuve is leading the team in home runs (20) while Michael Brantley is leading in batting average (.326). Yordan Alvarez leads with 56 RBIs and Carlos Correa is posting a .385 OBP. Yuli Gurriel closes it out for the offense with a team-leading 96 hits.

On the road, the Astros have a 26-17 record, and they’re 12-8 in their last 20 games. They are the only team in the AL with a better run differential than the White Sox. Houston is 12-6 against Central teams, so the White Sox may have an uphill battle ahead of them.

Pitching for Houston

Today is going to see the South Side facing off against Lance McCullers Jr. for the second time this season. This season, McCullers is 6-1, going 79 23 innings and giving up 57 hits. He’s posted 89 strikeouts and walked 41, with a 2.94 ERA. McCullers is 3-1 in his last five against the White Sox, going 30 13 innings and allowing 22 hits while striking out 33. He relies on five pitches in is arsenal: sinker (36.6%), slider (24.8%), curveball (20.2%), changeup (16.2%) and cutter (2.1%).

Saturday is going to be old enemy Jake Odorizzi. Since joining the Astros this season, Odorizzi is 3-4 in 47 13 innings, giving up 35 hits and walking 12 while also striking out 44 and posting a 3.61. He’s 2-2 in his last five games against the White Sox, going 25 23 innings giving up 23 hits, striking out 35 and walking six. The White Sox are very familiar with Odorizzi from his time with the Twins over the years, and he’s sticking around like a bad rash.

Sunday will be Framber Valdez in his second career appearance against the White Sox. Valez is 5-1 in 54 13 innings while allowing 49 hits, striking out 52, and walking 22. He faced the White Sox back on June 19. He got the win, lasted seven innings, and allowed six hits while striking out five and walking two. Valdez relies on four pitches: sinker (40.7%), curveball (29.1%), changeup (21.6%), and a 4-seam (8.6%).

Why we hate them