The White Sox pitchers have the lowest overall FIP in the AL at 3.83. They seem to have strong numbers both in the starting rotation and in relief. The starters combine for an ERA 4.04 and FIP of 3.86, while the relievers combine for an ERA and FIP of 3.76. White Sox pitching’s BABIP, however, is tied for third highest in the AL at .306.
John Danks is holding opposing hitters to a .230 average, while Freddy Garcia has struggled, giving up a .290 average to opponents. Danks and Gavin Floyd have both racked up the strikeouts this season, with 130 and 135 respectively.
The White Sox have lost some of their most dependable relievers to injury this month. J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton have had solid seasons for Chicago, each with an ERA and FIP below 2.70 over 47 innings of work. Bobby Jenks, Tony Pena and Scott Linebrink have been the other big arms out of the bullpen, but they have not been as successful as Putz or Thornton, with ERAs of 4.40, 5.48 and 4.36 respectively, although Jenks FIP is significantly lower (2.62).
The White Sox have put together a strong offense this season. Their wOBA is tied with the Blue Jays and Rangers at .333, and sits just below the Yankees, Red Sox and Twins for fourth in the AL. With a team OBP of .332 and SLG of .428, Chicago has some weapons at the plate. Paul Konerko is hitting .315 this season with 31 homers and 88 RBIs. Alex Rios is also swinging a strong bat this season, hitting .292 with 18 homers and 73 RBIs. Perhaps one of the most dangerous players for the White Sox is Juan Pierre, who is hitting .281 while keeping his strikeouts low (36). What makes Pierre dangerous, particularly for the Yankees, is his Major League leading 50 stolen bases this season. If Pierre gets on base against the Yankees, you can bet he will be running.
The White Sox defense may be their biggest weakness. They have an overall UZR of -16.7. While Pierre and Alexei Ramirez have been strong defensively (UZRs of 9.4 and 12.4), Carlos Quentin (-17.0), Konerko (-8.9) and Mark Teahen (-7.5) have been big liabilities on the field.
Obviously, both teams have some injury concerns. The White Sox have the aforementioned holes in their bullpen at the moment, while the Yankees are missing Alex Rodriguez, Lance Berkman, Andy Pettitte and Alfredo Aceves. Nick Swisher should be returning after fouling a ball off his leg earlier in the week. This is a big series for both teams, as the White Sox are battling for the AL Central and cannot afford to fall further behind the Twins. The Yankees, on the other hand, are tied with the Rays and only 5.5 games ahead of Boston.