Hamels starts opener as Rangers visit White Sox
According to STATSAccording to STATS
Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox
- Texas was 3-4 last season against the White Sox, with the two teams alternating wins and losses each game. In three wins against the White Sox, the Rangers averaged 12.0 runs per game, and in losses just 4.3 runs per game. They hit .286 last season against the White Sox, their second-highest average against any AL opponent (.317 vs. Detroit).
- Despite being a sub-.500 team on the road, the Rangers have been playing better baseball away from home. Their home/road winning percentage differential is second-highest in the AL (.476 away, .304 home, .172 differential).
- The White Sox are currently on a five-game home losing streak, despite hitting .266 as a team and hitting eight home runs in those games. Their five-game home losing streak is the longest active streak in baseball; they have also gone on another five-game home losing streak in 2018, the only team to have multiple streaks of at least that length.
- Aside from the Rangers (his current team), the White Sox are the only MLB team against whom Cole Hamels has pitched but has never taken a loss (never faced the Phillies). In 28.1 career innings against the White Sox, Hamels has allowed just 11 runs (nine earned), to go along with 30 strikeouts and one walk. His 30.00 SO/BB ratio is his highest against any opponent.
- James Shields has made 15 starts against the Rangers in his career, posting a 7-3 record with a 2.70 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Of all active MLB pitchers with at least 60 innings against Texas, Shields and Chris Sale (0.90) are the only pitchers with a career WHIP under 1.00. At home against the Rangers, Shields has a 1.53 ERA and 0.74 WHIP, holding opponents to a .180 average.
- James Shields and Cole Hamels rank first and second in the American League respectively, in improvement of opponent batting average from pre-May to May. Teams hit .280 off Shields pre-May, and just .167 in May (.113 differential). Teams hit .252 off Hamels pre-May, and just .143 in May (.109 differential).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 5/17/2018 thru 5/20/2018
Two last-place teams will look to create some positive feelings when the Texas Rangers visit the Chicago White Sox to open a four-game series starting Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Texas (17-27) endured a tough start to the year but has played better of late with three wins in its past five games. The Rangers are coming off a 5-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Chicago (10-29) has lost nine of its past 10 games. The team expected to take another step forward in its rebuilding process this season, but instead it has the worst record in baseball.
"Baseball has tremendous peaks and valleys," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said to the Chicago Tribune. "We're trying to come out of the valley and start to level off. Get to 30,000 feet and ride for a few hours."
Anything above the cellar would count as progress for the White Sox.
Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels (2-4, 3.48 ERA) will make his 10th start of the season. The 34-year-old was sharp his last time out as he tossed six scoreless innings while giving up only one hit in a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros. He has 57 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings.
In four career starts against the White Sox, Hamels is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA. He has pitched well in Chicago -- both the North Side and the South Side -- throughout his career, including a no-hitter at Wrigley Field in 2015.
White Sox right-hander James Shields (1-4, 5.44) will try to pick up his first victory since Opening Day on March 29 against the Kansas City Royals. The 36-year-old is looking to bounce back from his most recent outing Saturday in which he allowed five runs in six innings against the Chicago Cubs.
In 15 career starts against Texas, Shields is 7-3 with a 2.70 ERA. He has struck out 92 batters in 106 2/3 innings. The veteran's most recent outing against the Rangers took place in 2017, when he allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings.
One of the White Sox's hottest hitters is Jose Abreu, who has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games. During that span, he is batting .366 (15-for-41) with four doubles, one home run and eight RBIs.
The Rangers feature a feast-or-famine power hitter in Joey Gallo, who leads the club with 13 homers in 43 games. However, Gallo is hitting only .200 with 61 strikeouts in 160 at-bats.
Texas will be without star third baseman Adrian Beltre, who returned to the disabled list after he aggravated a hamstring injury. Beltre spent only five days with the team between stints on the disabled list.
"Unfortunately, any time you lose your team leader who is fresh off the DL, of course it has a significant impact," Rangers assistant general manager Josh Boyd told reporters.
This marks the first meeting between the teams this season. In 2017, the White Sox won the season series, 4-3.
Updated May 16, 2018