Game 7, Mariners at White Sox
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Chris Sale, 11:10am
The White Sox beat Felix and ruined a perfectly good Felix day, so the M’s need to return the favor and get out of Chicago with a series win. It’s a tall order. Sale is dominant against lefties, and despite significant platoon splits, he’s pretty good against righties as well. The human foul pole gets well above average velocity and movement on his fastball, dropping to a low 3/4 delivery and firing 94-95mph darts. He mixes in a very good slider that he throws around 30-40% of the time, and which he uses against lefties and righties alike.
The big difference driving his large splits by FIP is home runs. Lefties don’t hit many, and righties hit a few. So if the M’s have a chance here, they’re probably going to need a HR from Morse, Morales or, if you’re still in the ‘he’s changed!’ camp, Smoak.
Iwakuma’s got his own HR problems, but he was brilliant in his first start against a lefty-heavy line-up. The White Sox don’t have as many lefties, but he’s still going to have to be careful with his fastball to guys like Konerko and Rios. More of the same, Hisashi.
1: Gutierrez, CF
2: Bay, LF
3: Morales, DH
4: Morse, RF
5: Montero, C
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Seager, 3B
8: Andino, 2B
9: Ryan, SS
If you’re going to get Ackley some rest, this is the game to do it. Of course, this is his 2nd time sitting against a lefty in a week. Boy am I glad the M’s don’t have any more of those ‘part-time’ players. This does mean that the M’s might have a better answer against Sox closer Addison Reed than bringing on a cold Jesus Montero. I understood the decision, but Reed is essentially the worst possible pitcher for Montero to face, particularly coming off the bench.
So a day or so after I write that the M’s OF defense won’t be TOO bad for a variety of reasons, yesterday’s loss turned (in part) on some poor defending and a terrible throw on a sac fly that gave Chicago its 4th run. I still believe the M’s won’t be legitimately awful, but that doesn’t mean the M’s are going to have some ugliness in high-leverage situations.