Jays at White Sox, 24-26 June

Friday, June 24 2016 @ 04:01 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

Having spent the day looking in vain for some wag to say "You Brexit, you bought it!" let's turn our attention to the baseball. The Jays are in Chicago this weekend, where everything happens an hour later than it should.

The White Sox came charging out of the gate this season, winning 23 of their first 33 and opening up a 6 game lead on the rest of the AL Central. Along the way, they strolled into Toronto and swept the Jays, outscoring the home side 21-6 over the three games. On the Friday night, Marcus Stroman took a 5-1 lead into the seventh inning. The Sox loaded the bases with two outs and Brett Cecil came on to allow all three runners to score while re-loading the bases; Gavin Floyd came in to give up the go-ahead two run double off the bat of Todd Frazier. Chris Sale matched up with R.A. Dickey the following afternoon, so you can probably guess how that went (10-1, if you've forgotten.) They wrapped up the sweep on Sunday with Jose Quintana and three relievers throwing a four-hit shutout. Heady times for the South-Siders.

Since then... not so much. The Sox have gone 13-27 since their high-water mark on 9 May, and that's 8-25 when Chris Sale hasn't been involved in the decision. They slipped below .500 last week, and have fallen to 6 games off the division lead.

Second-year LH Carlos Rodon gets the start tonight - he's pitched better than his 2-6 record would suggest. Rodon couldn't buy a win when the team was playing well (he started out 1-4, 4.26) - he's been pitching well lately, but his team has scored a total of 6 runs in his last three starts. Which makes it tough. He's never faced the Blue Jays.

Miguel Gonzalez made his season debut against the Jays back in April and was all set to take the L before the Toronto bullpen got him off the hook. He's started 8 games since, and all but two of them were pretty good.

Unfortunately for Toronto, Chris Sale will be pitching this weekend. The long lefty leads the major leagues in wins. Curiously, he's never struck out fewer hitters than this season - he's striking out less than a batter per inning for the first time in his career.

The White Sox play their home games in US Cellular, which is a great place to hit home runs and a tough place to score runs. Go figure. Last year's Home Run Derby champ, Todd Frazier, came over this season from Cincinnati and is having himself a US Cellular experience. He's hit 21 HRs so far, and no one in the major leagues has hit more. He's also hitting .198/.301/.456, and looks likely to strike out 150 times this season. Rob Deer, anyone? Brett Lawrie has an outside chance of striking out 200 times, and who thought that could ever happen? (He can't possibly stay healthy long enough to get that many ABs, though.) Jose Abreu is having a down year by his own standards, but he does turn 30 in six months, so maybe he's just getting older. He's still one of the team's few decent hitters, along with corner outfielders Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera. The rest of the lineup is pretty grim. They did finally notice the enormous fork sticking out of Jimmy Rollins' back and have moved on, giving the shortstop job to top prospect Tim Anderson, their first pick in 2013. Anderson didn't have much left to prove in the minors, and so far he's been a definite improvement on Rollins, low bar to clear or not.


Friday 8:10 PM -   Sanchez (7-1, 3.35) vs Rodon (2-6, 4.16)
Saturday 2:10 PM - Dickey (4-8, 4.08) vs Gonzalez (1-2, 4.29)
Sunday 2:10 PM - Stroman (6-3, 5.23) vs Sale (12-2, 2.85)
Is there news? A little. Toronto has flipped its fourth outfielder - Junior Lake is up, Darrell Ceciliani is down. That's all I got.