Series Preview: White Sox/Pirates

In a battle of impotent offenses, the Pirates take on the White Sox over the weekend at PNC Park.
The Pirates (277 runs) have actually outscored the White Sox (239 runs) by a considerable amount, a fact made even more embarrasing by the Pale Hose residing in the DH league. The White Sox have gotten putrid performances from everyone not named Jim Thome (.291/.472/.547). Jermaine Dye (.226/.283/.430) and Paul Konerko (.244/.337/.429), key players in the team’s recent success, have been scuffling at the plate.
On the mound, the starters have been respectable (4.01 starters ERA, 4th in the AL), but the bullpen has been nothing short of atrocious. The White Sox collected hard-throwing, wild arms in the offseason in an attempt to build a power bullpen, but acquisitions such as Andy Sisco and David Aardsma found little success, and have since been demoted.
Tale of the Tape
Chicago White Sox
Record: 27-35
Runs Scored: 239 (Last in AL)
Runs Allowed: 301 (8th in AL)
Pythagorean Record: 24-38
Defensive Efficiency: 0.706 (12th in MLB)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 28-38
Runs Scored: 277 (12th in NL)
Runs Allowed: 326 (12th in NL)
Pythagorean Record: 28-38
Defensive Efficiency: 0.688 (26th in MLB)
Probable Starters
RHP Jon Garland (84.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 3.52 K/9, 2.77 BB/9, 0.64 HR/9, 7.79 H/9)
LHP Paul Maholm (77.2 IP, 5.33 ERA, 5.21 K/9, 2.78 BB/9, 1.39 HR/9, 10.31 H/9)
LHP Mark Buehrle (78 IP, 3.69 ERA, 6.00 K/9, 1.85 BB/9, 1.27 HR/9, 7.85 H/9)
RHP John Van Benschoten (season debut; at AAA Indianapolis: 66 IP, 2.73 ERA, 45 K, 30 BB, 3 HR, 59 H)
RHP Javier Vazquez (78 IP, 4.15 ERA, 7.73 K/9, 2.54 BB/9, 1.27 HR/9, 7.73 H/9)
LHP Zach Duke (78 IP, 5.54 ERA, 2.88 K/9, 2.19 BB/9, 1.04 HR/9, 12.92 H/9)
Series Notes
White Sox
– Lefthander Mark Buehrle has been subject to trade rumors as of late. With the White Sox likely entering a rebuilding stage and Buehrle’s contract expiring after the season, the St. Louis Cardinals, whom Buehrle has said he would like to play for, have been mentioned as a possible fit.
– Third Baseman Joe Crede recently underwent surgery on his problematic back, and may not return this season. Prospect Josh Fields will audition for the job. Fields profiles as a similar hitter to Crede, though he is not considered to have as much range as Crede at third base. If Fields performs well, Crede is a possible non-tender canidate next offseason.
John Van Benschoten will be making his first major league appearance since 2004. Van Benschoten missed the entire 2005 season while recovering from shoulder surgery, and spent 2006 in the minors. Van Benschoten, 27, likely profiles long-term as a reliever, given his serious shoulder problems and average control.

Author: Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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