Neither the Rangers nor the White Sox will make the postseason in 2019, but there is still plenty of optimism in both clubhouses heading into the final month of the regular season. Both teams appear to be on the brink of contending in their respective divisions. Chicago has plenty of up-and-coming talent to be excited about, while Texas just recently got a look at one of their top position player prospects earlier this week. Can the White Sox continue to improve with a victory at home over the Rangers on Thursday night?
Jurado looking to bounce back after another poor outing
The Rangers got some bad news earlier in the week, when sluggers Nomar Mazara and Danny Santana left Monday’s game with apparent injures. Mazara landed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique, while Santana is considered to be day-to-day with left hamstring tightness. The injuries have opened the door for one of the Rangers’ top prospects to make their pro debut in Tuesday night’s doubleheader versus the Los Angeles Angels. No. 3-overall prospect Nick Solak got the call-up on Tuesday, collecting his first career MLB hit in the first game of the double-header to start a memorable day for the 24-year-old utility man. He broke a scoreless tie with his first career home run in the night cap and propelled Texas to a walk-off win when his chopper got past first baseman Albert Pujols in the 11th inning. Solak split time between the Rays and Rangers’ minor league systems this year, hitting 27 home runs at the Triple-A level before being called up to the big leagues.
Let the "career first" trend continue!
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) August 21, 2019
Texas is scheduled to turn to reliever-turned-starter Ariel Jurado for Thursday’s series opener in Chicago. Jurado was enjoying a strong stretch before stumbling during his last two trips to the mound. He will toe the rubber on Thursday in hopes of rebounding after allowing a whopping 16 runs (10 earned) while lasting just 5 ⅔ combined innings over his last two starts. Jurado was pulled after just two frames in his last start after surrendering eight runs (two earned) versus the Minnesota Twins. He comes in with a 6-9 overall record to go along with a 5.38 ERA in 26 games (16 starts) so far this year.
In his only start of the season against the White Sox, Jurado allowed four earned runs in six innings of work on June 21. According to Baseball Savant, current White Sox are batting .240 in 28 plate appearances off the Rangers’ right-hander heading into Thursday’s matchup.
Anderson, White Sox heating up at the plate
The White Sox have battled through a rebuilding season in 2019, but the future still looks bright on the southside of Chicago. One of the team’s biggest bright spots this season has been 26-year-old shortstop Tim Anderson, who is in the midst of a breakout season in his fourth big league season. Anderson has undeniably swapped some power for added discipline at the plate and he’s using the whole field more as a result. The White Sox slugger is slashing a healthy .331/.354/.504 with a .858 OPS and 13 home runs this season while producing the highest WAR (2.8) and best wRC+ (127) of his young career. Anderson has also continued to cut down on his strikeout rate, which dropped for the third straight season down to 30.1 percent.
"When you mention baseball to other black people, I want them to think of me. It motivates the culture to try and learn more about baseball and motivates kids to get into baseball." – @TimAnderson7
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) August 12, 2019
The White Sox have yet to announce a starter for Thursday’s contest, but whoever takes the mound should get a fair amount of run support. Chicago has been heating up at the plate over the past week. They rank sixth in the MLB in runs scored over the past week with 44 over their past seven games, while slashing .267/.303/.488 as a team during that span.
- Rangers are 0-6 in their last 6 vs. American League Central.
- Rangers are 1-6 in Jurado’s last 7 starts on grass.
- Rangers are 0-4 in Jurado’s last 4 starts.
- None Available