Much like how the phrase "Thank God for Mississippi" can be heard from other states when state education and health rankings come out, I imagine the phrase "Thank God for the Astros" has been bandied around the front office and locker room of the Chicago White Sox this year.
If it weren't for the terrible team from Houston, the White Sox would have the unfortunate title of being the worst team in the American League. As the Braves head to the South Side for a three-game set against the White Sox, they'll face a team that sits 14 games back of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.
With a 37-55 record and a -60 run differential that is the second worst in the AL, Chicago is officially in a free fall. All of that gives the Braves a good shot at finding some success on the road for the first time in a good while.
Atlanta shifted around its starting rotation coming out of the break, but any assortment of pitchers should be able to have success against Chicago's anemic offense. On the season, the White Sox rank tenth in the American League in batting average (.249), 14th in on-base average (.301), 12th in slugging percentage (.385), 14th in wOBA (.299), last in wRC+ (82), 14th in walk rate (6.6%), sixth in strikeout rate (20.3%) and 13th in ISO (.136).
Looking at those numbers, it's not hard to see why the White Sox are dead last in runs scored among American League teams.
Second baseman Gordon Beckham has only played in 44 games this season, but he's been Chicago's best hitter when he's played. On the year, he's hitting .335/.357/.443 with a .345 wOBA and 114 wRC+. He rarely walks and hasn't hit for much power, but he's had great luck with batting average on balls in play.
Adam Dunn continues to do what he has always done, which is walk (12.8% walk rate), strike out (30 % K-rate) and hit for power (.261 ISO). His overall line stands at .217/.317/.474 with a .339 wOBA and 110 wRC+.
Outfielders Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios have both been slightly above average with the bat. De Aza checks in at .271/.327/.439 with 12 homers and ten steals while Rios is hitting .270/.326.429 with 11 home runs and 19 steals. Rios also leads the team in fWAR at 1.8, just ahead of shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who has a fWAR of 1.7 despite a 78 wRC+ on the season. Ramirez leads the team in steals with 20.
Friday July 19th, 8:10 PM ET. FOX Sports South.
Saturday July 20th, 4:05 PM ET. FOX.
Sunday July 21st, 2:10 PM ET. FOX Sports South.
U.S. Cellular Field