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Team Anonymous: Phillies vs. White Sox preview

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Not a lot of star power on the South side

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox
Jose Abreu makes another out
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Before taking a look at the White Sox’ s roster, I realized I couldn’t name a single player on the roster. After examining their roster, I didn’t feel all that bad about that. Obviously, there’s some unfamiliarity with them being an American League team, but this is not the most star-laden lineup the Phillies will face this season.

Chicago White Sox

Record: 46-60, Third place in American League Central

The last time they met

In 2016, the Phillies and White Sox played four games against each other, two in each stadium. The Sox took the first game, but the Phils rebounded to take the next three. 2016 doesn’t seem that long ago, but some of the Phillies’ lineups in those games included Tommy Joseph as cleanup hitter, Tyler Goeddel in left field, and Ryan Howard as DH.

Who are these guys?

As I mentioned, I couldn’t name any current White Sox players. The only guy I feel I maybe should have gotten is Jose Abreu. And its understandable that I overlooked him because he’s having a down year.

Is there anyone good in the lineup?

The aforementioned Abreu has multiple All-Star appearances under his belt, so he’s at least somewhat dangerous. Yoan Moncada has been their best hitter all season, but he’s currently on the injured list. Aside from that, I’m not sure how worked up you can get about guys like Leury Garcia or Eloy Jimenez.

It shouldn’t be a shock that this no-name lineup is having trouble scoring runs.

At least they’re not in last place

The Sox currently have the third best record in the AL Central, which doesn’t sound all that bad. Then you see that the teams below them are the dreadful Royals and Tigers, and all of a sudden, that third place status isn’t nearly as impressive. The Central is a very strange division with a 16 game divide between second and third place.

But even that status is in jeopardy

The Sox are currently eight games ahead of the Royals, but if they continue their recent free fall, that gap could close in a hurry. The Sox have lost four in a row and have won just two of their last eleven games.

No DH

Since this series is at Citizens Bank Park, the games will feature the arcane National League rules, and we’ll have to suffer through watching pitchers bat. Normally, it hurts American League teams when you take out one of their better hitters, but somehow, I don’t think not having A.J. Reed or Zack Collins in the lineup is going to make much of a difference.

Do they at least have good pitching?

The scheduled starters for this series are Ivan Nova, Ross Detweiler, and Reynaldo Lopez. Would you consider any of those guys good? (You really shouldn’t.) You could talk yourself into Nova as a viable fifth starter, although his 5.23 ERA isn’t anything to get excited about. I should note that Bryce Harper is 6-13 with two home runs against him.

You might remember Detweiler as being kind of okay from his days with the Nationals, but he has been definitively not okay this season. The Sox picked him up as a free agent in June, and he’s shown why he was so readily available. He’s bounced between the rotation and bullpen, being equally ineffective in both roles. I think this guy said it best:

As for Lopez, he had a solid season in 2018, but he hasn’t followed up strong in 2019. He’s given up three home runs in a game three times already this season, so the Phillies will have a good chance to add to their home run totals.

At least they have a good closer

Alex Colome has pitched well in the ninth inning, and many people expected him to be traded last month. For some reason, the rebuilding Sox chose to hold onto a 30-year-old closer.

The three aces

Unlike the White Sox, the Phillies will be starting some good pitchers in this series. Friday night will give us our first look at Jason Vargas, and Aaron Nola gets his chance to dominate on Saturday. If the Sox don’t manage to win one of those games, their chances don’t look good on Sunday when Cliff Lee 2.0 (aka Drew Smyly) gets the start.

Trivia

The Phillies have ten wins over the White Sox in franchise history. One pitcher is responsible for two of those wins. Who is he?

Prediction

The Phillies don’t always take care of business against bad teams, but the White Sox are reeling, and the Phils have done surprisingly well against American League competition this season. They’re going to sweep.