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Gamethread: White Sox at Blue Jays

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South Siders try to salvage Northern excursion

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Pittsburgh Pirates
Carlos Rodón resumes his march toward a Cy Young with his return today in Toronto.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Rodón is back on the bump for the Pale Hose for the first time in three weeks, as the White Sox (72-55) look to salvage a split north of the border after dropping two of their first three to the Blue Jays (66-59).

Before landing on the injured list with a somewhat vague shoulder ailment, Rodón had struggled through two previous starts against Milwaukee and Kansas City, though he appeared to have righted the ship with a five-inning, 11-strikeout performance at Wrigley Field earlier this month.

Prior to 2021, Rodón has only broken 100 innings in a season once since throwing a career-high 165 in 2016. Having been limited to just more than 40 innings between the last two injury-wrecked seasons, it’s no surprise that the first-time All-Star has dealt with some fatigue in the dog days of the season. Thanks to the nature of his mechanics, Rodón’s velocity, control, and therefore effectiveness tend to go hand-in-hand, and it’s easy to tell when he doesn’t have it.

Thought his dominant effort in the Crosstown series apparently belied some underlying issues, it seems there should be little cause for future concern if Rodón can come out with his mid-90s fastball and keep building up for a playoff run.

On the other side, the Blue Jays are sending their ace out to try and secure the series victory. Though he initially suffered somewhat from the summer sticky stuff snafu, Ryu has largely been excellent this year, running a 3.54 ERA and 3.61 FIP over 24 starts and 140 innings. He’s been inconsistent in August, giving up two, seven, four, and zero runs respectively, but he’s worked into the seventh inning in three of those four starts.

With the front and middle ends of the Toronto bullpen consistently in flux (and the back end less than sure, too), Hyun-Jin Ryu is likely to go deep into this game. He’s also the kind of pitcher who has given the Sox fits this season in spite of what looks like an appealing matchup for the team’s righty, power-heavy lineup. The White Sox offense has been highly reliant on home runs as of late, and Ryu’s game is predicated on avoiding them. He typically uses impeccable command to avoid hard contact, and he’s usually successful: He’s given up just 15 homers over those 24 starts, including just one over his last eight.

Some might say Ryu is due for some dingers. Maybe a few mistakes is all it will take to get the offense rolling again.

You know, given what the AL East standings look like and how the 2008 season ended, I don’t know if I like framing it that way!

It feels as if it’s been a million years since we saw the Sox throw out any kind of “A” lineup, and today is no exception, as it’s Yoán Moncada’s turn for a day off, sliding Leury García over to third base and the 8-hole. Though I’m sure he fought it tooth-and-nail, José Abreu gets a day off from the field today, hitting in the DH slot for the 12th time this season. In his 11 games at DH to this point, he’s slashed .310/.375/.476 with two homers, eight RBIs, four walks, and just seven strikeouts.

Seby Zavala might as well treat these next couple of games as an open tryout to remain on the roster, as Yasmani Grandal is reportedly nearing a return from his minor league rehab assignment.

On the other side of the card, the Jays aren’t quite throwing their best lineup out there either, as Corey Dickerson and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. get the day off in favor of Reese McGuire and Kevin Smith, who makes his third career big league start in lieu of the injured George Springer.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:07 p.m. CST.