Today’s MLB pitching match-up of the day features a battle between a resurgent southpaw and an underrated righty from Chicago’s South Side.
April is almost over, and there have already been some incredible moments this MLB season. These past few weeks have featured standout performers and performances, some expected and others unexpected. While it is only April, there is much anticipation as to where these players will go as the season progresses.
There have even been standout teams in baseball this year. The Rockies and the Diamondbacks hold first and second place in the NL West, while the Giants and Dodgers have struggled. The World Series-winning Cubs have also been battling for the top spot in the NL Central – with the Cincinnati Reds! The Orioles have dominated, while the Blue Jays have faltered.
So far, the AL Central has been the tightest division. The last-place Royals are only three games out of first. The White Sox has gotten off to a better start than originally anticipated thanks to their pitching staff, which currently leads the AL in ERA. The Royals, meanwhile, are not far behind, as their pitching staff has posted a 3.29 team ERA, which is good enough for third in the AL.
Throughout his career, Jason Vargas has had flashes of brilliance. He has also had flashes of inconsistency. On top of that, he has also dealt with a variety of injuries, especially in the past two years. Vargas only made 12 starts in 2015 and 2016, which raised concerns going into 2017.
In his first three starts, Vargas silenced the critics with three spectacular performances. All three of Vargas’ starts were quality starts, and in those games, Vargas only allowed one earned run. Vargas currently leads the MLB in ERA, and is tied for the AL lead with three victories. In his three starts, he has not allowed a home run and has only walked two.
Vargas will enter Guaranteed Rate Field with nine career starts against the White Sox. Vargas’ last start against Chicago was his first start back from Tommy John surgery on September 17 of last year. In that start, Vargas pitched three innings of one-run ball, striking out one and walking one. Vargas received a no-decision. The last time Vargas received a decision against the White Sox was in a loss in 2014.
The White Sox have been a bit of a thorn in his side in his career, which may tarnish Vargas’ hot start. However, Chicago has also struggled offensively this year, which could be a huge advantage for Vargas and the Royals.
Miguel Gonzalez has never been considered a top-tier starter. You will never hear his name mentioned next to Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, or Chris Sale. However, Gonzalez’s numbers in his career have been respectable, and his 2017 campaign so far has included some solid work.
Two of Gonzalez’s three starts were quality starts, and the right-hander has allowed only six runs in 19 innings, good enough for a 2.84 ERA. Despite the positives, Gonzalez has struggled with control. He has allowed 19 hits in 19 innings, along with seven walks (1.37 WHIP, .264 BAA). Gonzalez’s last start was his best so far, as he went into the ninth inning against the Yankees, allowing only one run and four hits while striking out four.
Last year, Gonzalez went 0-2 in four starts against the Royals. Despite the loss, Gonzalez’s best start against the Royals came on May 21, when he struck out eight in six solid innings. Gonzalez certainly did not pitch poorly. In fact, he did not allow a walk in any of his four starts against Kansas City. The lack of offensive support by the White Sox led to the the losses and no-decisions.