After yesterday’s game was postponed due to unhealthy smoke conditions in New York caused by massive wildfires in Quebec, the White Sox and Yankees are going to try to get in two games today, as a straight doubleheader. The air was still smoke-filled this morning, but the forecast calls for a wind change to southerly, which should clear the air, at least literally.
The delay led to a small pitcher change on the part of the Yankees, with Luis Severino moving up to face Lance Lynn in the opener today, and the always feared — by the White Sox, anyway — minor league call-up who was scheduled for yesterday moved to the nightcap.
“It’s not who you play, it’s when you play ’em,” was one of Ken Harrelson’s favorite saws, and, like most Hawkisms, it’s only partially accurate, because with some teams “when you play ’em” would include the entire 21st Century. It is appropriate this series, though, since facing the Yankees when they’re missing multiple starting pitchers, Gerrit Cole’s turn in the rotation isn’t coming up, and (most of all) Aaron Judge has just gone on the IL means you’re barely facing the Yankees. Which is good.
You are facing Severino, though. He’s used a 97 mph four-seamer, a slider and changeup for an excellent, though injury-plagued, career, with a 50-30 record and ERA in the low threes. The injury problem hit in spring training this year with a lat strain, so he didn’t pitch for real until late May and has only made three starts.
Severino sports a terrible, but misleading, ERA of 5.28, the misleading being because six of the nine earned runs he’s given up came in one inning against the Dodgers. He’s 2-2 lifetime against the Sox, but few in today’s lineup have seen him much, the exceptions being Tim Anderson (4-for-13) and Andrew Benintendi, who has torched him for a .419 average and two homers in 31 at-bats.
Lynn has an even worse 6.55 ERA, and doesn’t have the excuse of one bad inning. He’s had a few solid starts (only against the enfeebled AAAL Central), but many bad ones, including getting smashed for three homers and and eight earned runs in four innings by the Angels last time out. The Judge-less Yankee lineup hasn’t hit him well in years past, except for Anthony Rizzo (12-for-37 with two long balls).
By the 3:05 p.m. Central first pitch, the wind should have shifted to southerly, blowing that nasty Canadian air back to where it came from. Not much wind, though, so the haze may hang around for a while. Usual broadcast suspects, with the nightcap starting 30 minutes after this game ends.