Houston Astros (71-40 SU, 61-50 RL, 60-44-7 O/U) vs. Chicago White Sox (41-68 SU, 55-54 RL, 53-52-4 O/U)
MLB: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 8:10 p.m. EST
The Line: Houston Astros -222/Chicago White Sox +180. Total: 10.
The Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros will continue a three-game series when they square off at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Wednesday night. Houston was a surprising and disappointing 3-6 in its last nine contests heading into the opener on Tuesday. The White Sox are hoping to use this series to rebound from a six-game losing streak.
Hitting the road
The American League-leading Astros are kicking off an eight-game road trip against the struggling White Sox. Alex Bregman ripped a tying two-run triple and scored on an RBI single from Juan Centeno to cap a wild four-run rally in the ninth inning of Houston’s 7-6 victory over Toronto this past Sunday. Bregman has three homers among his eight extra-base hits, 10 RBIs, and eight runs scored during his nine-game hitting streak. Outfielder Josh Reddick has hit safely in 11 consecutive starts, recording two homers and 10 RBIs in that span. Centeno, who was recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Saturday, is 5-for-11 with three RBIs in three games with the Astros.
Right-hander Collin McHugh is taking the mound for Houston on Wednesday. The right-hander is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts since entering the rotation last month. McHugh most recently faced Tampa Bay last Thursday, when he went six innings and allowed only one earned run on five hits and two walks while striking out six batters during a 5-3 loss.
Gonzalez, rest of Sox struggling
While the ascending Astros’ postseason ticket is all but punched, the White Sox have dropped six in a row and 23 of 27 contests since July 4 to plummet into the basement of the American League. Chicago could receive a much-needed jolt in the opener of its six-game home-stand with the potential return of Avisail Garcia, who has missed 12 games with a strained right thumb. Second baseman Yolmer Sanchez carries a four-game hitting streak into this series.
Miguel Gonzalez will oppose McHugh on Wednesday. The right-hander is a disappointing 5-10 with a 5.15 ERA through 17 starts in 2017. Gonzalez’s ERA was as low as 3.18 in May and it was still a somewhat serviceable 4.59 until his most recent outing, which was nothing short of a disaster. Against the Red Sox last Thursday, the 33-year-old gave up seven runs on seven hits in just 1.2 innings during a 9-5 setback.
The Houston Astros are:
- 38-14 in their last 52 road games
- 7-1 in their last eight games against teams with winning percentages under .400
- 56-25 in their last 81 games against right-handed starters
The Chicago White Sox are:
- 17-42 in their last 59 overall
- 2-11 in their last 13 home games
- 1-6 in Gonzalez’s last seven starts
The Astros are in a bit of a funk by their standards, but they have still taken care of business on the road of late and they are having no trouble beating up on weak opponents. Chicago certainly qualifies as such–especially on Wednesday with Gonzalez in less than stellar form. Houston is 38-14 in its last 52 on the road, 7-1 in its last eight against opponents with winning percentages under .400, 56-25 in its last 81 against right-handed starters, 9-3 in McHugh’s last 12 starts, and 7-1 in McHugh’s last eight road starts. The White Sox are 17-42 in their last 59 overall, 2-11 in their last 13 at home, 3-11 in their last 14 against right-handed starters, 1-6 in Gonzalez’s last seven starts, and 1-4 in Gonzalez’s last five home starts. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.