Chicago White Sox: Five Keys of the Week (5/2-5/5 @ Toronto Blue Jays)

Thomas BarbeeSenior Analyst IMay 2, 2008

  1. Mark Buehrle must set the pace
  2. Take advantage of RISP
  3. Stay ahead of hitters
  4. Get to the SP early
  5. Don't let Alex Rios beat you

Mark Buehrle must set the pace

Buehrle takes the hill tonight sporting a 1-2 record with an ERA a shade over five-and-a-half. Not exactly what you want out of your supposed ace, but Buehrle definitely stands a chance against a Blue Jays team that hasn't exactly knocked the cover off the ball with a .251 team average. That's not to say it'll be a cakewalk for number 56, but going up against the challenging Shaun Marcum and ending the Sox two game slide should be enough motivation for Buehrle to get the job done.

Take advantage of RISP

This one seems like an easy one, as it has easily been the one major thing to continuously kill us as of late. It's going to be even tougher this time around, as the Sox face four very tough starters in this series. So when the Sox are in the position to move a runner up, look for Ozzie to be particularly aggressive if he needs to be. The last thing the Sox want to do is become a struggling station to station team. Much of the responsibility will fall on Swisher and Cabrera to get some singles or walks to get the Sox into some kind of functioning rhythm.

Stay ahead of hitters

Another obvious one, but like the Yankees, the Blue Jays are a predominantly well-disciplined team when it comes to their at bats. While this is one category where they'll certainly miss having Frank Thomas, guys like Lyle Overbay who post a .394 OBP are going to give the Sox pitchers fits if they try to be too careful with their pitching approach. The key is just to be smart and aggressive and-- especially with Contreras and Danks-- avoid walking guys.

Get to the SP early

Each of the Blue Jays starters that we're facing (Marcum, Jesse Litsch, Roy Halladay, and Dustin McGowan) have to be hit early if you want to get to them at all. If the top of the order for the Sox can come through with some hits early on, it'll bode well for the rest of the game.

Don't let Alex Rios beat you

As the leadoff hitter for the Blue Jays, Rios has a lot of pop to go with his blazing speed. Given the Sox well-known inability to ever hold baserunners, it's crucial for the White Sox to make sure they get him out as much as possible by pitching aggressively. If he beats you, fine, but don't give him a free pass.