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Walks tell the story of Dodgers vs. White Sox

3-game series begins Tuesday night in Chicago

Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

The Dodgers are in Chicago to play the White Sox for the first time in five years. Both teams were heavy favorites to win their division this season, but have had wildly different starts.

Los Angeles had a rough week last week at home, but is still on pace to win 105 games, and currently holds a 2½-game lead in the National League West. The White Sox prior to the season had a 60.1-percent chance to win the American League Central per FanGraphs, and a 72.9-percent chance to make the playoffs.

The White Sox were streaky to start, going 6-2 before losing 10 out of 11. The whiplash continued with seven wins in their next eight games. But then they settled in to a groove, swarming around an equilibrium. Chicago this season was 13-13, 14-14, 15-15, 16-16, 17-17, 18-18, 19-19, 20-20, 21-21, 22-22, and 23-23.

A four-game losing streak got the White Sox off that track, but they head into this series on a two-game win streak. At 25-27, the only way they get back to exactly .500 during this series is by winning the first two games.

Dodgers-White Sox matchup

Stat White Sox Dodgers
Stat White Sox Dodgers
Record 25-27 (.481) 35-19 (.648)
Split 11-13 home 18-9 road
Run diff. -56 (24th) +113 (1st)
RS/game 3.65 (27th) 5.37 (1st)
wRC+ 92 (23rd) 116 (3rd)
HR 45 (23rd) 65 (t-8th)
SB 25 (t-20th) 35 (6th)
RA/game 4.73 (25th) 3.28 (2nd)
ERA 4.15 (21st) 2.91 (1st)
FIP 3.99 (16th) 3.51 (4th)
IP/start 4.96 (19th) 5.27 (8th)
K rate 23.8% (9th) 24.6% (4th)
BB rate 10.5% (30th) 7.0% (4th)

Chicago trails the Twins by five games in the division, but are still favored at FanGraphs, with a 44.8-percent chance to finish on top, and a 60.4-percent chance to reach the postseason.

There are a number of differences between the two teams, with the Dodgers topping baseball in run differential, and the White Sox are near the bottom, at 24th. Then again, the discrepancy was even larger last week at Dodger Stadium when the Pirates turned the tables and swept the Dodgers.

But there is one thing that jumps out between the Dodgers and White Sox. It’s walks, on both sides of the ball.

Dodgers hitters lead the majors with a 10.6-percent walk rate, and the White Sox are last at 6.2 percent. That fuels a .333 on-base percentage for LA, second in MLB, compared to just .294 for Chicago. On the pitching side, the White Sox have walked batters at the highest rate (10.5 percent), with the Dodgers arms the fourth-lowest at 7.0 percent.

In raw numbers, Dodgers batters have walked (220) nearly twice as many times as the White Sox (119). Los Angeles pitchers have walked 138 batters, compared to 212 by Chicago.

This series is the first meeting between the two teams since 2017. They played two games in each location that season, all four games won by the Dodgers, in the midst of their unreal stretch of winning 52 times in 61 games.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is on the injured list with a right groin strain. So is old friend Joe Kelly, with a left hamstring strain.

Old friends are struggling for Chicago. Yasmani Grandal is hitting .163/.274/.213, a 50 wRC+, and AJ Pollock is at .216/.242/.344, a 67 wRC+.

Pitching matchups

  • Tuesday (5:10 p.m. PT): Mitch White vs. Michael Kopech
  • Wednesday (5:10 p.m.): Tony Gonsolin vs. Johnny Cueto
  • Thursday (11:10 a.m.): Tyler Anderson vs. Dylan Cease

Broadcast info

The series opener Tuesday night is on both SportsNet LA locally, and TBS for folks outside of the Los Angeles market. Brian Anderson and Ron Darling are calling the game for TBS along with reporter Hazel Mae. The TBS telecast will be available in Chicago.

Next week’s Dodgers-Angels series opener at Dodger Stadium, on Tuesday, June 14, will also be televised on TBS. Don Orsillo will call play-by-play for that broadcast alongside analyst Jeff Francoeur, with reporter Heidi Watney. That TBS broadcast won’t be available locally.

Game info

  • Teams: Dodgers (35-19) at White Sox (25-27)
  • Pitchers: Mitch White vs. Michael Kopech
  • Location: Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago
  • Time: 5:10 p.m. PT
  • TV: SportsNet LA, TBS (out of market)