A capsule look at the White Sox-Athletics playoff series
A capsule look at the best-of-three playoff series between the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics in Oakland, California, beginning Tuesday:
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Playoff Entry: AL wild card.
Playoff Seed: No. 7.
Manager: Rick Renteria (fourth season).
Projected Rotation: RHP Lucas Giolito (4-3, 3.48 ERA, 97 Ks), LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-2, 1.99, 42 Ks), RHP Dylan Cease (5-4, 4.01, 44 Ks) or RHP Dane Dunning (2-0, 3.97, 35 Ks).
Top Hitters: 1B José Abreu (.317, 19 HRs, 60 RBIs, .987 OPS), SS Tim Anderson (.322, 10, 21, 45 runs, .886 OPS), LF Eloy Jiménez (.296, 14, 41), 2B Nick Madrigal (.340, 0, 11), CF Luis Robert (.233, 11, 31).
Top Relievers: RHP Alex Colomé (2-0, 0.81 ERA, 12 saves), RHP Matt Foster (6-1, 2.20), LHP Aaron Bummer (1-0, 0.96), LHP Garrett Crochet (0-0, 0.00), LHP Jace Fry (0-1, 3.66), RHP Codi Heuer (3-0, 1.52, 1 save), RHP Evan Marshall (2-1, 2.38).
Series Summary: The White Sox snapped a string of seven consecutive losing seasons and made the playoffs for the first time since winning the AL Central in 2008. They were in position for another division title and a home playoff series before they finished the season with seven losses in eight games. ... The health of Jiménez is worth watching. The slugger missed the last three games with a sprained right foot. ... Anderson was a top contender for AL MVP for much of the year, but has struggled of late. The flashy shortstop is batting .100 (3 for 30) with 12 strikeouts in his last seven games. The White Sox desperately need him to regain his form in his first career playoff appearance. ... Chicago went 14-0 when facing left-handed starters this season.
Playoff Entry: AL West champions.
Playoff Seed: No. 2.
Manager: Bob Melvin (10th season).
Projected Rotation: LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-2, 4.12 ERA, 59 Ks), RHP Chris Bassitt (5-2, 2.29, 55 Ks), LHP Sean Manaea (4-3, 4.50, 45 Ks) or RHP Mike Fiers (6-3, 4.58).
Top Hitters: 1B Matt Olson (.195, 14 HRs, 42 RBIs, .734 OPS), SS Marcus Semien (.223, 7, 17, .679 OPS), LF Robbie Grossman (.241, 8, 22, .826 OPS).
Top Relievers: RHP Liam Hendriks (3-1, 1.78 ERA, 14/15 saves), LHP Jake Diekman (2-0, 0.42).
Series Summary: The A’s are in the playoffs for the third straight season and 11th time since 2000. But they have advanced a round only once in that span, beating Minnesota in the 2006 Division Series before getting swept in the ALCS by Detroit. ... The A’s had a nine-game winning streak to begin August and then mostly coasted to their first division title in seven years despite losing star 3B Matt Chapman to a season-ending hip injury and off years at the plate from Semien, Ramon Laureano and Khris Davis. ... Late-season additions Tommy La Stella and Jake Lamb sparked an offense that batted .225 for the season, worst for the franchise since 1908. Oakland ranks in the top 10 in walks and hit by pitches to help produce a respectable .322 on-base percentage. ... Bassitt went from fringe starter coming into the season to the team’s most reliable option. The 22-year-old Luzardo was picked to pitch the opener even though the White Sox went 14-0 against lefty starters this season. ... Led by Hendriks, Diekman, Joakim Soria and Yusmeiro Petit, the A’s had the second-best bullpen ERA in the majors at 2.72. The team’s ERA was 1.29 lower at home than on the road.
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