The Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox met in last year’s American League playoffs and very well could again this fall. Both are all but postseason locks, especially Chicago, so it’s just a matter of how the seeding works out. The Sox host the A’s for four games starting Monday.
Oakland A’s vs. Chicago White Sox
TA plays the hero, José passes Harold, and more.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 16, 2021
Photos of the Series, presented by @Walgreens:
- When: Monday, August 16 // Thursday, August 19
- Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Illinois
- TV: NBCSCA, ESPN
- Radio: Bloomberg 960 AM, A’s Cast
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
- MLB Betting Odds: TBA
Last year, MLB expanded the playoffs and the A’s and White Sox met in the three-game wild-card series all in Oakland. Chicago won the first game 4-1 and lost the next two. No one expected the 6-4 defeat in Game 3 to be the last as manager of the White Sox for Rick Renteria, but he was fired and replaced by Hall of Famer Tony La Russa.
Oakland may be headed to the playoffs via the wild-card route again as the A’s trail the Astros by a couple of games in the AL West and probably aren’t good enough to catch Houston barring a major injury on the Astros. The White Sox, meanwhile, essentially have little to play for the rest of the regular season with such a massive lead in the AL Central. How worth it to go all out might it be simply to get home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs?
Believe it or not, the Pale Hose have never made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons or won the AL Central since 2008. The White Sox are off to their best 118-game start since 2006. This marks the fifth time in franchise history the Sox have owned a 10.0-plus game lead at any point in one season. They also lead the majors in homers since June 30. Jose Abreu is attempting to join Detroit’s Cecil Fielder (1990-92) as the only players in history to lead the American League in RBI three straight seasons.
The A’s have won three straight regular-season series (2017-19) vs. Chicago, going 15-4 during that span. However, this White Sox team is much better than any of those.
Oakland is 28-26 against AL West competition overall compared to 36-24 against all other teams Monday begins a stretch where the A’s are scheduled to play 26 of their next 34 games against non-division foes before concluding the season with 16 straight games against the American League West. The A’s have a 3.51 ERA on the road, which is the lowest in the American League and fourth lowest in the majors. They are batting .248 (501-for-2018) with a .747 OPS on the road compared to .226 with a .707 OPS at home. Pretty unusual to have such better road splits.
The pitching matchup for Monday features A’s righty Frankie Montas vs. Chicago lefty Dallas Keuchel. Montas (9-8, 3.98 ERA) is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA, .206 opponents batting average and three home runs allowed over his last eight starts dating back to June 26 after going 7-7 with a 4.79 ERA, .269 opponents average and 13 home runs over his first 15 starts. His 51 strikeouts over his past six starts are the most by an A’s pitcher over a six-game span since Todd Stottlemyre had 56 from June 16-July 12, 1995.
The White Sox are the only AL team Montas has never faced in the regular season but did face them in Game 3 of last year’s wild-card series and got the win in relief, allowing one run over two innings.
Keuchel (7-6, 4.51) spent a lot of time with the Astros so he has seen the A’s plenty in his career, going 6-6 with a 3.06 ERA (48 ER/141.1 IP) over 22 games (20 starts).
Here are the other scheduled pitching matchups:
- Tuesday – Oakland’s Chris Bassitt vs. Chicago’s Reynaldo Lopez
- Wednesday – Oakland’s Cole Irvin vs. Cy Young contender Lance Lynn
- Thursday (day game) – Oakland’s James Kaprielian vs. Dylan Cease