This evening’s game on BBC Radio sees us heading back to Chicago for the second straight week, this time to the South Side as the Chicago White Sox host the New York Yankees. First pitch is scheduled for 19.05, with the BBC show beginning five minutes earlier. You can listen in via DAB radio and Digital TV.
The legion of Yankee fans in the UK will be glad to have their team on the show for the first time after a late switch two weeks ago meant that their game against the Kansas City Royals couldn’t be broadcast.
In contrast, this will be the White Sox’s third appearance on the BBC and their starring role has proved to be a lucky charm for them on the first two occasions against the Royals and the A’s. With due respect to Kansas City and Oakland, tonight’s game will be Chicago’s strongest test so far of keeping their BBC winning run rolling.
The series so far
As us neutrals always hope for, the series is level heading into this game after the first two were split.
The White Sox pounded A.J. Burnett on Friday night for nine runs in just 3.1 innings as Chicago opened the series with a 9-4 victory. The runs continued to flow yesterday, but this time it was the Yankees who jumped on the starting pitcher, with John Danks being punted for eight earned runs in 4.1 innings. The White Sox were able to bring around five runs against CC Sabathia over his seven innings of work, but he still walked away with his eighteenth win of the season.
Both teams are firmly in the playoff mix as the Yankees are level with the Rays at the top of the AL East on 79-50, while the White Sox are 4.5 games behind the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins. However, the other similarity between the two is that both are battling with injuries at the worst possible time.
New York has Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Lance Berkman and Damaso Marte on the Disabled List and Mark Teixeira’s status is uncertain as he left yesterday’s game after the second inning due to an injury to his right thumb. Meanwhile the White Sox’s bullpen was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday as both J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton were placed on the DL.
Today’s starting pitchers
With their two best relievers on the shelf, the White Sox need their starting pitchers to go deep into games more than ever over the next couple of weeks. Gavin Floyd has that task today.
This is his second appearance on the BBC and he performed well the first time, pitching seven strong innings to pick up a win against the A’s. He’s had mixed results since then, not least with two disappointing appearances back-to-back against the Minnesota Twins. Floyd got back on track last time out, conceding just two runs over seven innings against the Baltimore Orioles.
There’s some uncertainty over the Yankees’ starting pitcher. It is scheduled to be the rookie Ivan Nova; however he is under investigation by MLB for allegedly injecting a teammate with a drug known as B-12, and receiving the same injection back. B-12 is not a banned substance, but MLB wants to look into the matter and it’s possible that Nova could be pulled from his scheduled start as a result.
Nova does still seem to be the man heading to the mound at time of writing and if that turns out to be the case then this will be only his second Major League start. He made his starting debut on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays, following two relief appearances, and it was a decent first effort (5.1 innings, two earned runs). The scouting report on Nova prior to the season was that he looked like a potential back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever rather than an impact pitcher. However, he went 12-3 with a 2.86 ERA in twenty three starts with the Yankees’ Triple-A team this season to earn his call up.