|5:10 PM PT6:10 PM MT7:10 PM CT8:10 PM ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 PM MST7:10 PM EST7:40 PM VEN4:10 UAE (+1)6:10 PM CT, August 16, 2022
Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 23,476
AL ERA leaders square off for Astros, White Sox
Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox
- The Astros have won four in a row to move 34 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2019 season. They're 17-7 against the White Sox since the start of the 2018 campaign but have lost their last two series at Guaranteed Rate Field.
- Astros righty Jose Urquidy is trying to win his fourth straight decision, which would tie a single-season career high. He surrendered five runs over five IP his last time out, ending a streak of nine starts in which he did not allow more than three runs. He has a 3.00 ERA in his last five road starts after posting a 7.09 ERA in his first six this year.
- Astros third baseman Alex Bregman has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games at a .400/.500/.675 clip. That .400 average is tied for tops in the majors in August (minimum 30 PA). He has three homers and eight RBI in his last four games, has scored at least one run in six straight contests and owns a .347/.478/.583 career slash line against the White Sox.
- The White Sox have won a season-high five straight home games and at 59-56 are three games over .500 for the first time since April 17. Chicago starting pitchers have an American League-best 2.82 ERA in 22 games since July 23.
- White Sox starter Johnny Cueto has given up three earned runs or fewer in 12 straight starts and ranks sixth in the American League with a 3.02 ERA since June 1. Although nine years apart, he's tossed 12 scoreless innings in his last two starts against Houston.
- AJ Pollock had a slugging percentage of 1.182 in Chicago's sweep of Detroit over the weekend. It was his highest slugging percentage (min. 10 PA) in a single series since slugging 1.444 against the Padres as a member of the Dodgers last September.
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The pitchers with the two best ERAs in the American League will go head to head when the Chicago White Sox host the Houston Astros in the second game of a four-game series on Tuesday night.
White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease is set to take on Astros right-hander Justin Verlander in one of the most anticipated pitching matchups of the season.
Cease (12-5, 1.96 ERA) has made huge strides in his fourth season in the majors, while Verlander (15-3, 1.85) is showing no signs of slowing in his 17th big-league season.
"As a fan, for sure, you got Cease for us who has been killing it, and Verlander has been doing it for so long," White Sox outfielder AJ Pollock said. "I'm sure people will be tuned in."
Astros manager Dusty Baker said, "I'll tell you one thing, I was thinking about it today. This is like when I was a kid: (Sandy) Koufax and Juan Marichal, or Don Drysdale and Gaylord Perry. Ferguson Jenkins and Bob Gibson. I'm going to have to be really careful and make sure I don't spectate and manage."
Verlander, 39, has made 46 starts against the White Sox in his career, going 22-14 with a 3.72 ERA. He owns four complete games against them, his highest total against any team. The White Sox beat him on June 18 when he yielded seven runs (four earned) on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Cease, 26, has lost all three of his career starts against the Astros while compiling a 6.60 ERA. He hasn't faced Houston this year.
White Sox closer Liam Hendriks said it will be exciting to watch Verlander, a future Hall of Famer who underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2020 and missed the 2021 season, going against Cease, who is just making a name for himself.
"It's kind of the changing of the guards," Hendriks said. "That's no slight against Justin being older. This has to be one of the best, if not the best season, after Tommy John in history. It's incredible what he's been able to do."
Verlander leads the majors in ERA, wins and WHIP (0.86), while Cease is tied for seventh in wins and is third in ERA and strikeouts (174).
"The more success I'm having, the more it's expected, which is great," Cease said. "To me, it's exciting, and I'd much rather it be this way than just having it viewed as an average game. It's exciting that it's viewed as a big matchup."
The White Sox also would like to keep their momentum going after they posted one of their most exciting wins of the season. Chicago came from behind to beat Houston 4-2 in the series opener on Monday night, its fourth straight victory.
The Astros had a 2-0 lead with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Baker lifted starting pitcher Jose Urquidy after he gave up an infield single to Pollock.
The White Sox promptly scored four runs off reliever Rafael Montero, ending Houston's four-game winning streak.
"That was tough to take," Baker said. "You can put it on me."
--Field Level Media
Updated August 16, 2022