The Houston Astros and host Chicago White Sox each will go for a series win when they meet in the rubber match of a three-game set Sunday afternoon.
Houston won the series opener 7-1 on Friday, but Chicago responded forcefully Saturday with a 10-1 victory behind a three-hitter by Lucas Giolito. That game marked the first time in six meetings that the White Sox beat the Astros this season.
Now, both first-place teams will turn to southpaws to try to finish the weekend on a winning note.
For the White Sox, Carlos Rodon (7-3, 2.31 ERA) will make his 16th start of the season. He is coming off his first selection to the All-Star Game after a stellar first half that included a no-hitter.
In 89 2/3 innings this season, Rodon has issued 26 walks to go along with 130 strikeouts.
“Overall, it’s been pretty good,” Rodon said. “I just want to build off it.”
The Astros will hand the ball to Framber Valdez (5-1, 2.98), who will make his 10th start. He has fared well this season but has struggled with command in recent outings, walking at least five in two of his past three starts.
Valdez said the All-Star break arrived at the right time for him to refocus.
“I just felt like I was trying to do too much a little bit, trying to get the best quality out of all my pitches,” Valdez said through a translator. “I think that led me down a path of being a little anxious on the mound, but I worked on controlling those emotions and being in a better place so my next outing I’m not as anxious.”
In two career appearances (one start) against the White Sox, Valdez is 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA.
The mood is positive in the Chicago clubhouse, especially after five players hit home runs in Saturday’s blowout win. The power parade included the first career homer for designated hitter Jake Burger, a 2017 first-round pick who battled through serious injuries over the past few years to reach the majors in 2021.
Burger’s milestone homer was a 456-foot blast to left field. He gives Chicago another power bat in the lineup.
Houston is no stranger to power, either. The Astros boast six players who have double-digit homers, led by Jose Altuve with 20 and Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez with 16 apiece.
The latest player to celebrate good news with the White Sox is 34-year-old right-hander Lance Lynn. On Saturday, he signed a two-year contract extension for $38 million with a 2024 club option.
“Over the first half of the season, just being able to see how everybody goes about their business here, the group that’s here and the group that’s going to be here for the next couple of years, it seemed like a pretty easy fit,” Lynn said. “And then when you started to play in front of these fans and enjoy it like I’ve been able to enjoy it, it was a no-doubter. So we were able to make a deal, and it was the best for both sides, I feel like.”
–Field Level Media