Rangers vs. White Sox Preview: Josh Hamilton Brings Fireworks Show to Chicago
Fresh off his fifth consecutive All-Star nod this past Sunday, Josh Hamilton and the AL West first-place Texas Rangers travel to U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago Tuesday to take on the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox in the first of a three-game series.
The holiday series will feature two of the top five American League offenses in the Rangers and White Sox, less than a week before the MLB All-Star game.
The White Sox are coming off of a split of a four-game series in New York. The White Sox topped the Yankees Thursday and Friday in grand fashion. On Thursday, White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo smashed a three-run home run to left in the top of the ninth, while rookie Addison Reed held off the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth to earn his 11th save.
The White Sox followed their thrilling win with a 14-run effort on Friday, winning and taking control of the series on the strength of A.J. Pierzynski's two-homer night. The White Sox bats went quiet, however, mustering only two runs overall in the last two games, dropping both to the Yankees.
The Rangers had a chance at a four-game home sweep Sunday, but lost to the Oakland A's 3-1, despite Yu Darvish's 11-strikeout performance.
The Rangers are currently 20 games over .500, and hold a 5 1/2 game lead over the surging Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers have the best record in baseball, are the No. 1 ranked offense in the majors, and have a run differential of plus-100, the best in baseball.
Josh Hamilton is having another MVP-caliber season in 2012, knocking out 25 home runs, and driving in 73 runs. Hamilton leads the American League with a 1.023 OPS, highlighted by a hefty league-leading slugging percentage of .643.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The two-time defending AL champion Rangers also can now boast seven All-Stars after Sunday's rosters were announced for next week's 83rd All-Star game.
The White Sox have unexpectedly entered July in playoff contention with an offense ranked fifth in the American League to go along with their sixth-ranked pitching staff.
Having apparently solved their season-long crisis at third base by trading with the Boston Red Sox for Kevin Youkilis last week, the White Sox have also received major contributions from the middle of their lineup. Konerko, Dunn, and Alex Rios have combined for 48 home runs and 140 runs driven in.
Here is a preview of the pitching matchups for this important three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago:
Game 1, Tuesday, July 3, (7:10pm CST) Roy Oswalt (Texas) vs. Chris Sale (Chicago)
The series opener looks to be the most intriguing matchup with plenty of firepower on the mound, as well as in the batter's box.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Newly acquired Ranger, Roy Oswalt, takes the mound in his third start this season, following two wins in his first two decisions. He has struck out 12 batters in 12 2/3 innings.
Oswalt, a three-time All-Star, will match up against another All-Star, 23-year-old Chris Sale. Sale is second in the American League with a 2.27 earned run average, and brings a 9-2 record into Tuesday night's contest.
Adam Dunn has a career slugging percentage of .519 against Oswalt, while A.J. Pierzynski has five career hits in 11 at-bats against Oswalt.
This will be Chris Sale's first career start against the Texas Rangers.
Game 2, Wednesday, July 4, (6:10pm CST, TV: ESPN) Scott Feldman (Texas) vs. Dylan Axelrod (Chicago)
While fans will flock to the South Side of Chicago to celebrate Independence Day with a round of fireworks afterwards, Game 2 will likely feature plenty of offensive fireworks during the game.
Filling in for the struggling and recently injured Phillip Humber, Dylan Axelrod will try to build on his solid start against the Yankees last week, while facing baseball's most potent lineup.
In addition to leading the majors in runs scored, the Rangers own baseball's highest team slugging percentage, along with baseball's highest team on-base percentage.
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
With hardly an easy out from one through nine, the Rangers' lineup is stacked with the likes of Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz. Through Sunday's games, the Rangers have belted 100 home runs in 80 games.
The White Sox look to continue their roll on offense this season against the struggling Scott Feldman, who brings a 2-6 record with him, along with a 6.13 earned run average.
With temperatures expected to stay in the mid-90's in Chicago this week, look for these pitchers to struggle mightily on Wednesday.
Game 3, Thursday, July 5, (1:10pm CST) Matt Harrison (Texas) vs. Jose Quintana (Chicago)
Texas left-hander Matt Harrison, like his other Texas rotation-mates, has parlayed his team's solid run-support average of 6.66 runs per game when Harrison pitches, into an 11-3 record and his first All-Star game appearance.
Harrison will go against rookie White Sox pitcher, Jose Quintana, who has been filling in nicely for the injured John Danks. In nine games and seven starts, Quintana has combined for a stellar 2.19 earned run average, and a WHIP of 1.07. He has enjoyed exceptional control, walking only nine hitters in 49 innings this season.
On April 8th, Harrison pitched six shutout innings against the White Sox, leading the Rangers to a 5-0 victory during this season's premiere Sunday Night Baseball game.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?