Friday night is the second game in a four-game set between the Yankees and White Sox from Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. Both of these teams have been stumbling a bit in the month of June, as the Yanks are 4-7 and the White Sox are 5-5. These are big games for both teams as New York is trying to fend off the Rays for first place in the AL East, while the White Sox are inching closer to a .500 record.
Friday night’s matchup features two former first-round picks, albeit 14 years apart from each other. CC Sabathia, drafted in 1998, will duel Lucas Giolito, drafted in 2012.
For the Yankees, Sabathia has been having another solid season for the last time in his career. In February the 38-year-old announced that 2019 would be his last season in the majors. All he has done is turn in another reliable campaign, his fourth straight season with an ERA under 4. Sabathia has stumbled a bit in his last two starts after coming off the IL against the Red Sox and Indians, taking losses in both. However, over the course of the season, Sabathia is one that you can always count on to put in an effort good enough to give you a chance to win.
In seven of his 10 starts this season, he has given up three earned runs or less. That includes a five-inning, one-hit shutout performance against these White Sox back in April.
For the White Sox, Giolito is finally having his breakout season. In 2019, he is 9-1 with a 2.28 ERA and a 10.68 K/9. He hasn’t been slowing down at all, either. He has turned in back-to-back 7+ inning scoreless performances with 20 combined strikeouts.
One of the reasons for his success is strikeout to walk ratio. In nine of his 12 starts, he has given up two or fewer walks, and in seven of his 12 starts has struck out eight or more. An oddly low BABIP of .251 has led to an opponents’ batting average of only .178 and a WHIP under 1. Giolito has been everything you’d expect out of an ace and former top prospect in 2019.
Batters To Watch
In the month of June, top prospect Eloy Jimenez looks to have finally turned the corner. He has had a hit in seven of the 10 games so far for Chicago including three home runs and seven runs batted in. Friday will be a good test for Jimenez to show how far he has actually come. So far in the majors, Jimenez has been owned by left-handed pitching. He’s been hitting only .172 with one homer against lefties.
For the Yanks, the unsung hero of 2019 has undoubtedly been DJ LeMahieu. With injuries to Didi Gregorius, Miguel Andujar and Troy Tulowitzki, LeMahieu has had to play all over the diamond. LeMahieu has hit .316 with seven home runs and 41 RBI while playing at first, second, and third base.
It’s hard to pick against a first-place team with a lineup like the Yankees. But Lucas Giolito has been absolutely nuts this season. This will be a terrific matchup to see with Giolito against one of the best teams in the league. Let’s not forget that just a couple weeks ago, he threw a complete game shutout in Houston versus the Astros. Take the White Sox.