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MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox Workouts
South Siders need the Big Bastard to do some heavy lifting and get them out of this slump.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

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Gamethread: White Sox at Blue Jays

Slumping South Siders still searching to find their winning ways

Melissa Sage-Bollenbach is a die-hard White Sox fan and Mom of two incredible kids! She also has a Cubby hubby, but it’s OK because he likes the Sox. She went to the first Field of Dreams game, and it was the best baseball experience she's ever had!

It has been a tough start for this White Sox team, which is still struggling to find its identity. In one game, their offense is on, and their pitching is off; in the next, their pitching is on, and their offense is nowhere to be found. Having a record of 7-15 after 22 games is definitely not ideal, but it’s baseball, and anything is possible, as they’re still only five games back in the abysmal American League Central race. Tonight they will face a formidable foe, taking on the 13-9 Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

There were a few announcements from the Sox before tonight’s game. Get excited because more bullpen woes are ahead with the return of Joe Kelly, who seems to be better at writing about baseball than playing it. Also, our thoughts are with Gio and his family for their loss.

The Pale Hose are sending Lance Lynn to the mound, and we’re crossing our fingers that today will be the day when he turns the corner. Unfortunately, the 35-year-old righthander has yet to earn a win or make a quality start this season. He got knocked around pretty hard in his last outing against the Philadelphia Phillies when he surrendered five earned runs on ten hits and three walks in just 5 1⁄3 innings. One has to wonder if the faster pace of the game due to the pitch clock might be affecting the veteran as he seems to struggle to find his rhythm early on but then appears to settle in after a few innings. Here’s hoping Lance can nudge the needle from blue to red on many of his Baseball Savant rankings.

Seeing way to much blue on here for Lance
Baseball Savant

Historically, Lynn has pitched marginally well against Toronto, going 2-3 in nine starts, running a 4.33 ERA with an opponent batting average of .233. He’s also surrendered quite a few home runs, with seven. Notable among the Blue Jays starters, Brandon Belt has Lynn’s number. Belt has a .375 batting average with six hits and two walks in 18 at-bats. On the flip side, look for the Big Bastard to be successful against Whit Merrifield, as he can’t seem to make much contact against Lynn. Merrifield has a .174 batting average with only four hits and two walks in 23 at-bats. Toronto can expect to see a five-pitch mix from Lynn: 4-seam fastball (43.5%), cutter (23%), sinker (13.3%), curveball (12.5%), changeup (7.8%).

Opposite Lynn, the Blue Jays will send former South Sider Chris Bassitt to the bump this evening, who is entering his first season in Toronto after signing a three-year, $63 million free agent deal this past offseason. Bassitt had a solid year in 2022, with the New York Mets going 15-9 in 30 starts with a 3.42 ERA in 181 2⁄3 innings. The righthander has been grinding so far in 2023, at 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 21 2⁄3 innings. Unfortunately for him and possibly good for the Sox, he doesn’t have ANY red on his Baseball Savant rankings.

Bassitt is struggling a bit to begin the season
Baseball Savant

Bassitt throws eight different pitches: sinker (37.6%), curveball (13.8%), cutter (12.2%), sweeper (11.4%), changeup (9.5%), 4-seam fastball (7.8%), slider (7.3%), split-finger (.5%). All that variety and movement will probably make the Sox look more lost at the plate than usual; however, he only owns a 17.9% whiff rate against them, so it’s anyone’s game. As I like to say, it’s always expecting the unexpected with this team! On the positive side for the Sox, Eloy Jiménez has performed well against Bassitt, with three hits, two walks, and a .600 batting average in seven plate appearances. Eloy’s bat started to heat up a bit in Tampa with a couple of home runs, so let’s keep that trending in the right direction.

Here is the starting lineup for the White Sox:

Here is the starting lineup for the Blue Jays:

The game is at 6:07 p.m. CST. Watch on NBCSCHI and listen in at ESPN-AM 1000. I’ll see you postgame with the recap, and joining me will be Kristina Airdo on the Six Pack and Ryiin on the Bird App.

Los Angeles Dodgers 9, Chicago White Sox 6

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