Astros’ Fans Get To Know your ALDS Foe: the Chicago White Sox
The Houston Astros clinched the AL West Thursday night, winning their fourth AL title in the last five years. Now, once the team stops celebrating and Dusty Baker stops drinking beer from a shoe, the Astros can turn their focus to a deep World Series run.
Houston sits as the second seed in the AL and have earned themselves a matchup in the ALDS against the Chicago White Sox. This should be the best divisional series matchup in the playoffs – both teams are legit World Series contenders with tons of star power in each dugout.
Let’s take a look at the Chicago White Sox and how they match up against the Houston Astros.
Who are the 2021 Chicago White Sox?
Chicago is the AL Central champions, winning their first division title since 2008. They are led by Hall of Fame manager (and longtime AARP member) Tony LaRussa and by 2020 AL MVP Jose Abreu.
They have a plethora of young talent in their lineup – Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, and Andrew Vaughn. They arguably have the deepest starting lineup in all of baseball – Lucas Giolito, Carlos Rodon, Dylan Cease, former Texas Ranger Lance Lynn, and old friend Dallas Keuchel.
Finally, the White Sox have two of the best relievers in baseball to close games for them – future Hall-of-Famer Craig Kimbrel and the fire-throwing Australian Liam Hendriks.
The White Sox are not quite as good offensively as Houston, but they finished 8th in the MLB in OPS (.755), 5th in batting average at (.256 BA) and 10th in slugging. There are only 20th in home runs , and they are middle of the pack 16th in strikeouts. As for pitching, the White Sox finished 7th in the majors and ERA (3.73) – identical to the Houston Astros – and finished 6th in WHIP at 1.21.
However, the White Sox have struggled against better opponents. There are only 21-26 against AL teams above .500 – the Astros are 38-26 against those same teams. Chicago beat up on lesser opponents — hitting .261 from the plate with a OPS.788 against below .500 teams – and saw a significant drop-off when they took on the good teams (.242 BA, .711 OPS) . Our Astros , on the other hand, actually hit better against above .500 teams – sporting a .271 BA and a .791 OPS.