Well folks, the day is here—we’ve all re-watched Field of Dreams for the first time in years, had some good healthy debate about why it’s bad, and even though Carlos Rodón’s shoulder threw the team’s best-laid plans for a loop, we are finally ready to take to the corn!
Most importantly, this is the day that we find what it is that Craig Kimbrel is looking for on the horizon — or whether it’s just a scare(crow) tactic to prevent another Randy Johnson incident.
Craig Kimbrel has been playing the long game with his stupid scarecrow stance for an eternity and it has finally paid off now that he'll be pitching in a cornfield. pic.twitter.com/dTCsaJbBOI— Mark Primiano (@Doctor1Hundred) August 5, 2021
Lance Lynn gets the start in lieu of Rodón, though it’s not as if he’d have been any less deserving to begin with. Lynn (10-3) enters Thursday leading the major leagues with a 2.04 ERA, and with Robbie Ray in second place all the way down at 2.90 (unfortunately, it now seems likely that Rodón and his 2.38 ERA will fall short of qualifying), he looks poised to bring an ERA title to the South Side for the first time since Joel Horlen in 1968. Lynn has allowed no more than one earned run in 15 of his 20 starts on the season; though he hasn’t faced many lineups like the streaking Yankees as of late, he’s allowed more than three runs just once all season, so if you’re looking for someone to start a nationally anticipated game under the bright lights (?) of Dyersville, Iowa in prime time, Lynn is as good of a bet as anyone to keep you in the game.
On the other side of things, Andrew Heaney (7-8) brings a ... less accomplished resume to the midst of the bicolor.
(Actually, this is an important question that needs answering — what kind of corn are we dealing with here? I’ll plop down in the middle of some flavorful multi-colored corn, but if I would definitely approach this game with less confidence knowing that it’s wrinkly and yellow)
(Here’s a handy little primer so you can be prepared to talk about corn in a White Sox vs. Yankees gamethread)
Anyhow, Heaney has a 5.45 ERA on the season, and has given up eight earned runs in 10 innings since the Yankees brought him over from the Angels several weeks ago. The whole “White Sox are unbeatable against lefties” narrative from last year has been ~officially~ dead, buried, and done with for most of this season, but as Heaney is in possession of a low-velocity fastball and a curveball (rather than a slider) as his main secondary pitch, Heaney is a particularly appealing matchup for the team’s top lineup right now. Let’s do some scouting — this is what happened the last time José Abreu stepped into the box with Heaney on the other side.
Abreu has homered three times in five at-bats against Heaney since the start of last season — that is NOT a typo — and Tim Anderson and Yoán Moncada are a combined 7-for-18 against him. Andrew Vaughn and Luis Robert each went 0-for-1 with a walk when they faced Heaney on opening weekend. Don’t stop now, boys!
Additionally, the team announced that Danny Mendick would be joining the team tonight as the 27th man on the roster, which both teams are allowed to have due to the travel weirdness of playing in the middle of Iowa. The Yankees have recalled shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza in the same capacity.
The Chicago White Sox have recalled infielder Danny Mendick from Class AAA Charlotte to serve as the 27th player for tonight’s “Field of Dreams” Game vs. the New York Yankees.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 12, 2021
With Joe Buck, John Smoltz, Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci on television broadcast duties for Fox, this author will likely be taking Len Kasper up on his offer to join him and DJ on the airwaves tonight.
Without further ado, lineups for today’s long-anticipated matchup:
Game start time is listed at 6:00 p.m. Central Time