After sweeping the Chicago Cubs, the White Sox are now 66-46 and have a 10.5-game lead in the American League Central. As the club prepares to begin a three-game set in Minnesota, it’s easy to look around the corner at what’s coming next.
Looking past the series with the last-place Twins, the White Sox will endure quite the stretch against tough teams, which comes at a perfect time as outfielder Luis Robert rejoins the team to begin the week. The upcoming 14-game slate features three teams from the American League East, one from the American League West, and one off-day.
Kicking Things Off vs. Yankees
This portion of the schedule begins with a three-game set hosting the New York Yankees (61-50), which also includes the highly-anticipated Field of Dreams game in Iowa on August 12.
The Yankees made two big additions at the trade deadline, adding a pair of left-handed sluggers in Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs and Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers. Both bats came to the Bronx hot, but Rizzo tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, which will keep him out for the entire series this weekend.
While the third-place Yankees have a ton of confidence at the plate, their injured list sits in double digits, and their pitching is still a concern. If the White Sox bats stay hot following a power surge over the weekend, prepare for what could be a high-scoring set. This series also features the only off-day the club gets until the end of August, which comes on the Friday between games one and two.
Season Series: The Yankees swept the White Sox 3-0 in a mid-May meeting in the Bronx.
A’s Visit For Four-Game Set
Next on the docket is Liam Hendriks‘ former team, the Oakland Athletics (64-48), beginning on August 16. Oakland has been chasing the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West for a while, but their chase just got a little tougher as they lost their star centerfielder Ramon Laureano for 80 games after he violated MLB’s PED policy.
Their additions at the deadline included Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison from the Washington Nationals, and Starling Marte from the Miami Marlins. However, acquiring Marte wasn’t cheap, as the A’s sent up-and-coming lefty starter Jesús Luzardo to the Marlins.
This series will also bring back some memories of when the White Sox were knocked out of the postseason last year in a best-of-three series in Oakland. While the A’s may not have a stacked lineup or a bolstered bullpen with big names like the White Sox do, they play good baseball with what they have and force teams to play a gritty brand of baseball against them.
Season Series: This series will be the first meeting between the White Sox and A’s in 2021.
Road Portion Begins in Tampa Bay
The first three of what will be a seven-game road swing begins in Florida against the first-place Tampa Bay Rays (68-44) on August 20. The Red Sox were the leaders of the American League East until Boston’s recent cold streak allowed the Rays to take over the top spot.
Baseball fans know that Tampa Bay plays a solid game and sometimes approaches it in an unorthodox manner under manager Kevin Cash. At the deadline, the Rays added former Twins masher Nelson Cruz and lefty killer Jordan Luplow, who was formerly with the Cleveland Indians.
With a home record of 35-22, Tropicana Field has been friendly to the Rays, which will make it tougher for a White Sox team that isn’t overly impressive on the road at 28-26.
Season Series: The White Sox took two of three from the Rays on the South Side in mid-June.
North of the Border: Four at Toronto
This challenging block of games ends with a set of four in Canada, where the Blue Jays (60-50) finally returned in late July after being forced to play their previous home games in the United States because of COVID-19 protocols.
The club also got a big offensive boost when George Springer returned from the injured list. The Jays feature plenty of exciting young players such as Vladimir Guererro Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio. At the trade deadline, the American League East’s fourth-place squad acquired a pitching reinforcement in Jose Berrios, another selling piece from the bottom-feeding Twins.
At 10 games over the .500 mark, Toronto cannot be overlooked. Their young talent and veteran leaders make them a tough task for any opponent. They also seem to be enjoying some home cooking with a 9-2 record at Rogers Centre since returning to Toronto for their home games. The White Sox will make their first trip to Canada since 2019 on August 23.
Season Series: The White Sox won two of three contests against Toronto at Guaranteed Rate Field in June.
As previously alluded to, the White Sox will play this 14-game stretch in 15 days. It will provide the White Sox and their fans a sample of what types of teams they’ll be seeing in the playoffs, and, barring any changes, will feature the healthiest South Side lineup in months. Get ready for what could be the most competitive few series of the season, and hopefully, a Yasmani Grandal return.
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