Know Your White Sox Enemy: The Texas Rangers

As many of you probably noticed last week, I had our schedule messed up on my own Twitter feed. I thought the Angels were this weekend when they were actually the games of the week. Maybe my instincts were right, and we should have completely ignored this Angels series.

But with this bungle out of the way, we set off for Arlington, Texas to face the Texas Rangers.

Last time

Let’s go back to the days spent in … April. Yermín Mercedes was storming the league as a “rookie sensation” (in ESPN’s terms), and the Rangers were always garbage, just, like, baby garbage.

Despite losing a five-point lead, the White Sox won Game 1 of the series against the Rangers, 9-7. Dane Dunning faced his old team (we miss you, Dane, but we love Lance) and allowed five runs in the third inning. The White Sox pitcher just wasn’t there after Dylan Cease gave up on a two-run homerun and Evan Marshall gave up on a three-point line workout.

Game two was much closer, ending with the White Sox winning the game after Nick Madrigal doubled the winning point.

In the final game of the series, Michael Kopech played five innings and pulled out a career-high 10 batting. With this final victory, 8-4, the White Sox swept the Rangers from Chicago.

How are you

Well, yesterday the Rangers faced off against the Astros and lost 12-1, which didn’t help the White Sox, who are three behind the Astros for the second-best American League record. Meanwhile, the Rangers are right in the bottom of AL West, with one of the worst records in the American League. Really all they can do is hope to ruin the playoff races and hope 2022 is better for them. The list lacks depth and the pitching staff lacks any sort of elite starter (not to mention their reliever pen being an absolute mess). The IL Rangers are a real who’s-who of “who is this guy?” : Eli White, Nick Snyder, Andy Ibanez, Mike Foltynewicz, Matt Bush, Maximo Acosta … well you get the idea.

The Rangers are 29th in baseball in points per game and batting average, 27th in hits and 26th in home runs. Joey Gallo at Yankees definitely put a dent in their attack, given that it was their powerhouse. Isiah Kiner-Falefa leads the team in batting average with a respectable .265 as well as hits (153). Adolis Garcia leads in homers (30) and RBIs (81) with Nathaniel Lowe rounding things off with an OBP .353. Upon closer examination, it looks like these three are still currently members of the Texas Rangers, so it looks like they didn’t give up EVERYBODY by the trade deadline, like the Bear cubs – but it was pretty close.

The Rangers are 10-10 in their last 20 games and 22-52 away. They are doing horribly against their center opponents, posting a 9-17 record.

Pitch matches

Today will be Dylan Cease vs. Taylor Hearn. Cease is 11-7 this season out of 151 1??3 sleeves, with an ERA of 4.22. His last appearance against the Red Sox did not go as well as it could have gone, go 2 2??3 innings and surrender seven earned runs, then Cease will look to improve things. He has faced Rangers twice in his career, going 1-0 of 9 1??3 innings and posting a 4.82 ERA.

Meanwhile, Hearn is 6-4 this season out of 90 1??3 innings, with an ERA of 3.99. In his last seven starts, he’s 4-1 with a 3.72 ERA. Hearn’s last appearance was a win at Oakland, where he lasted six innings and broke two while allowing five hits and three earned runs. He’s never faced the White Sox as a starter, having started only one game in his debut season of 2019 (and getting a 108.00 ERA for the problem) and spending time in relief in 2020, posting a 3.63 ERA in 14 games. He’s bouncing between the pen and the starting rotation for 2021, having started eight games of 39 appearances in total. Hearn has four slots: a 4-stitch fastball, a sinker, a slider, and a shift. He’s 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA at home and 2-4 at night.

Saturday will feature Lance Lynn vs. Spencer Howard. Lynn is 10-4 this year with a 2.50 ERA and is treating a knee injury, recently spending time on the IL. His last appearance against Boston ended in a no-decision, with five innings and nine strikeouts. Lynn has only faced Texas once in his career, in 2018, which resulted in another no-decision after five innings.

Howard is 0-4 this season in 39 innings, with a 7.38 ERA. He’s 0-2 in his last seven starts, going 17 1??3 innings and posting an ERA of 9.35. Howard also never faced the White Sox as a starter. The pitcher approached the Rangers of the Philly with Kevin Gowdy and Josh Gessner for Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy and Hans Crouse. He made his debut in 2020 and made six starts; in 2021, he made a total of 12 starts between the two teams. Spencer has six shots in his arsenal: a 4-stitch fastball, a shift, a cutter, a curveball, a slider, and a sinker. After the all-star break for the Rangers, Howard is 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA in five starts.

For the final on Sunday it will be Lucas Giolito against Jordan Lyles. Giolito is 9-9 this season, with a 3.77 ERA. He’s had 188 catches this season, but hasn’t been at his best against the Angels, going four innings and allowing three earned runs.

Lyles is arguably the ace of the Rangers right now. He leads the team in wins (nine), ERA (5.20) and strikeouts (131), and he’s 3-4 in his last seven starts, going 41 1??3 innings and most recently by taking the victory against the Astros. Lyles is 1-1 against the White Sox, last facing them in 2014 while in the Rockies. He has five shots in his arsenal: a 4-stitch fastball, a slider, a curveball, a sinker and a change.

Why we still hate them

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