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Gamethread: Orioles at White Sox

Injured or not, it’s time to start stringing together some wins

Toronto Blue Jays v. Chicago White Sox
It’s Shimmy Time!
Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Coming off of a much-needed series win over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago White Sox (33-34) will take on the Baltimore Orioles (31-39) in a four-game set to round out this home stand. Unfortunately, the .500 record jump didn’t last long at all, falling back a game after Wednesday’s rough loss.

The news did not get any better today, with the White Sox announcing roster moves that included the IL for Danny Mendick (torn ACL) and Adam Engel (hamstring strain). Personally, I am at my limit of hamstring injuries, and I assume everyone reading this is, too. Can I donate my hamstrings to this cause? Does it work like that?

This White Sox team and their ability to consistently collide with each other in the outfield is getting out of hand, as Adam Haseley ran into with Danny Mendick in left field Wednesday, (apparently) with nobody calling for the ball. The Mendick news is sad to hear, given how much of a catalyst he has been to a tattered White Sox team. Over the last 30 days (20 games) he has the fourth-highest OPS (.809) — behind only Andrew Vaughn, José Abreu, and Jake Burger — and was slashing .311/.363/.446. The good news is that Eloy Jiménez should be returning to the lineup soon in spite of his (administrative) move to the 60-day IL, and we get to see how Lenyn Sosa’s Double-A production translates into the big leagues. Still, Danny’s versatility and hot bat surely will be missed.

Johnny Cueto will take the mound for the South Siders Thursday evening, appearing in his eighth game. His previous outing was a 7-0 shutout win while only allowing two hits, locking in his ERA at 2.95. Cueto has been more than the White Sox could have asked for, as the third-most effective starting pitcher on the current roster. Johnny will roll with a five-pitch arsenal, relying heavily on his sinker and slider. He only has a 17.9% whiff rate, and while he may not be striking out a lot of guys, he has been able to shimmy himself into some very solid outings, with batters only putting up a .229 batting average against him.

Dean Kramer is on the bump for Baltimore, and while he has only pitched in three games over 15 13 innings, he has posted a 2.35 ERA, only giving up five total runs. He has been effective in his outings, with opponents posting just a .583 OPS. Kramer has a five-pitch arsenal, throwing his fastball more than half of the time. Let’s hope the White Sox can get to him early and work the Baltimore bullpen.

Before we dive into the starting lineups, let’s wish our fearless leadoff hitter and favorite shortstop, Tim Anderson, a happy birthday!! It’s only right that he gets a pasta party on his birthday.

Now let’s check in on tonight’s starting lineups. The attrition in the outfield is pretty bad, with Luis Robert taking an extra day to ease up some soreness, so we are rocking with the Legend in center tonight. Abreu looks to stay hot, batting .330 with an OPS of .996 over the last month — summer José is all the way back, and we simply love to see it. Vaughn will start at first again tonight, and will work to keep up with the amazing year he has been having, batting .444 with a 1.094 OPS over the last week. Righties haven’t been giving him much trouble, as he is hitting .317 against them this year — Vaughn can match up well against pretty much anyone these days.

Cedric Mullins will leadoff for the Orioles, with Austin Hays, Trey Mancini, and Ryan Mountcastle leading the charge against the White Sox. Designated hitter Trey Mancini is slugging better against righthanders this year, with an .825 OPS, though he has been struggling the last two weeks (.611 OPS). Anthony Santander leads Baltimore with 13 home runs, and let’s hope we don’t see any tonight.

You can catch the first pitch at 7:10 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago and tune in to AM 1000 on the radio. It will be a beautiful 75° summer evening, the perfect night to bounce back and kick the series off with a W.

I’ve got Darrin Brown and Jacki Krestel with me on coverage tonight, so let’s go Sox!