It’s down to the last week of the regular season, with the White Sox suddenly having a chance for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, thanks to the current collapse of the Astros. That chance isn’t large, because the Sox still trail Houston by three games (effectively four, due to the tiebreaker), but the Astros face Tampa Bay and Oakland to finish the season and the White Sox get a whole lot of Detroit, beginning today.
This afternoon’s makeup of Wednesday’s washout will match Dallas Keuchel and Matt Manning, two pitchers who have suffered rough seasons, but are at the opposite end of their careers. Look for a lot of people on the bases.
The 6´6´´ Manning carries a 4-6 record and 5.73 ERA (4.63 FIP) since being called up in June, but the rookie has been a little better than that recently. Given the White Sox schedule is All Tigers, All The Time these days, the righty’s last start was against the Sox a week ago, when he went five innings and gave up four hits and three runs (all the runs in one inning) in a 4-3 Detroit win.
Keuchel’s numbers have been a little better in his last two starts, but mostly as a matter of luck, not improved performance. His 5.28 ERA is well-earned.
Keuchel’s faced the Tigers three times this season, totaling 15 innings and 12 runs, 10 of them earned. He held them to two runs last Tuesday, but surrendered 11 hits in five innings that took 95 pitches, so it didn’t enhance his chances for a playoff start.
Manning carries a five-pitch repertoire, with 41% four-seamers that are 94ish, 18.5% sinkers, and then a fairly even mix of changeups, sliders and curves. He’ll be throwing those to a White Sox lineup that is missing Tim Anderson and has Yasmani Grandal at DH and Zack Collins trying to catch.
Keuchel should be used to the Tiger lineup, which he could end up facing again next weekend, as well. Unlike last Tuesday, though, Miguel Cabrera is in the DH slot.
Six of those nine starters have lifetime averages of .333 or better against Keuchel.
Should be a beautiful day for a ballgame, with the temp at the 12:10 p.m. Central first pitch a perfect 75 degrees. The usual suspects will be carrying the broadcast.