Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics
When and Where: Friday, June 12, Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, Calif., 10:10 p.m. EDT.
He may not have started the season as the staff ace for the Oakland Athletics, but Mike Fiers spent the last two months pitching like one.
The linchpin of Oakland’s rotation, Fiers looks to extend his personal winning streak to seven games Friday night when the Athletics open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.
Nova out to build on positive last outing for ChiSox
Ivan Nova (4-7, 5.58 ERA) has shown only flashes of brilliance this season, but one came in his last start before the All-Star break. The right-hander stifled the Cubs over 5 2-3 shutout innings Sunday, scattering five hits and one walk in a 3-1 victory over the White Sox.
Lucas Giolito started with the 4th best ERA in the AL, while Ivan Nova had the 3rd highest ERA in the majors.
— Chicago Sports (@ChicagoSports) July 8, 2019
Even with the impressive performance, Nova ranks third-worst in earned run average among all qualifying starters — better than only Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez and teammate Reynaldo Lopez.
Nova is 2-0 with a 3.68 ERA in four career starts against Oakland but has not faced the A’s since 2016 while pitching for the New York Yankees. Both of his victories came in Oakland, where he has a 2.75 ERA in three starts.
One White Sox player who probably did not want to see the All-Star break was third baseman Yoan Moncada, who has the longest active hitting streak in the majors at 13 games. Moncada was 20 for 52 (.385) with four homers and a 1.191 OPS in that stretch, lifting his average 16 points to .308.
“He’s an All-Star-quality player,” Sox manager Rick Renteria told the Chicago Tribune about Moncada. “I pull for these guys every day, but I think he’s shown everybody. If you compare his numbers to many, they’re quite comparable. He’s on pace to have a pretty good season.”
Moncada is one homer shy of matching his career high of 17 set last year in 149 games. He is 9 for 23 with a pair of homers and four multihit games in his last five contests in Oakland.
Fiers expected to get ball for A’s in series opener
The Athletics (50-41) start the second half of the season just 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the second AL wild-card spot and are likely going to hunt out a starter that can help fill the void created by Frankie Montas‘ 80-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.
One pitcher already picking up the slack is Fiers (8-3, 3.87), who is expected to get the ball for the series opener. The right-hander’s current six-game unbeaten run started with his second career no-hitter May 7 versus Cincinnati.
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) July 4, 2019
Fiers is 6-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his last 11 starts, allowing more than two runs on just three occasions. What may be more impressive, though, is opposing hitters are batting just .187 on balls put in play since he has only 42 strikeouts in 70 innings during that stretch.
Oakland’s bullpen cost the righty a shot at a win July 3 after he limited Minnesota to two runs — one earned — in six innings of the A’s eventual 4-3, 12-inning loss. Fiers is 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA at home this season, including 3-0 with a 1.79 ERA in the last six.
He has also been effective versus the White Sox, going 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA in six career starts. Fiers had a 3.71 ERA in three starts against them last year, winning one of them.
The White Sox are:
- 4-11 in their last 15 games vs. AL West teams.
- 1-4 in their last five road games.
- 25-65 in their last 90 road games vs. above-.500 teams.
The Athletics are:
- 7-2 in their last nine games vs. the White Sox.
- 40-11 in their last 51 games vs. AL Central teams.
- 8-2 in their last 10 games vs. starters with a plus-1.30 WHIP.