CHICAGO WHITE SOX (56-82)
at BALTIMORE ORIOLES (73-65)
First pitch: Thursday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Baltimore -155, Chicago +145, Total: 8.5
Coming off a disappointing 3-6 road trip, the Orioles will try to get closer to the Wild Card leaders when they return home to open a four-game set with the slumping White Sox on Thursday night.
Miguel Gonzalez (8-7, 4.11 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) takes the mound for Baltimore, and he will be looking to bounce back from a horrible outing against the Yankees on Friday when he allowed seven runs in just four innings. He goes up against left-hander Jose Quintana (7-5, 3.69 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) who has become part of a six-man rotation for the Chicago. It has been a tough year for the last place White Sox, who have lost all six games on their current road trip, dropping their record to 24-48 away from home, the second worst road mark in all of baseball. The Orioles are happy to return home where they own a 38-29 mark (.567). These two teams have met just once this year with Chicago taking two out of three games at home. These two teams bringing completely different offenses into this game. Baltimore ranks fourth in MLB with 654 runs scored, while the White Sox have plated the second-fewest runs in the majors with 523. With 1B Chris Davis (47 HR) and OF Adam Jones (29 HR), the Orioles have the best home run hitting duo in all of baseball, and will look for those guys to help make their push for a playoff berth.
The 24-year old Quintana pitched only one inning in his last start against the Yankees, as a nearly two-hour rain delay forced the White Sox to go to their bullpen. In his young career, Quintana's best start came against the Orioles. On July 4, he went seven innings of scoreless ball, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out a career-high 11 batters in a 3-2 White Sox victory. However, in his lone career visit to Camden Yards on Aug. 30 of last season, the Orioles tagged him for five runs on seven hits (2 HR) in 3.2 innings of a 5-3 Baltimore victory. Quintana is at his absolute best when he is pounding the strike zone with his fastball. He has dominated the heart of the Orioles lineup, as Jones, Davis and All-Star 3B Manny Machado are a combined 2-for-12 with five strikeouts against the lefty. The O's are just 20-24 versus left-handed starters this season. Especially since Quintana went just one inning in last outing, the White Sox want to ride him deep into the game as their bullpen ranks 22nd in the majors with a 3.90 ERA and their 1.38 WHIP is the third-worst mark in MLB.
Gonzalez, like Quintana, is looking to get ahead by throwing strikes, but he does it more with off-speed while painting the corners. He is looking to put a tough August behind him, when he went 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in six appearances (four starts, two in relief). The second-year pro has never faced the White Sox in his career, but 3B Jeff Keppinger has seen Gonzalez 10 times, and has been able to only muster a single. Avisail Garcia is the only other current Chicago player with at-bats versus Gonzalez, going 2-for-3 with a homer and 2 RBI. Although he has a solid 3.48 ERA during the day, Gonzalez has really struggled at night, with a 4.41 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 17 HR allowed in 96 innings. If he gets in trouble again, the Baltimore bullpen has been decent this season (22-20, 3.67 ERA, 1.24 WHIP), and has preferred pitching at home (12-8, 3.37 ERA, 1.21 WHIP).