Never has a team been as happy to hit the road as the Los Angeles Dodgers. After winning 15 of their first 20 home games this season, the Dodgers suffered through a brutal homestand, losing five of seven games including their last two.
The stand included an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the woeful Pirates and being forced to settle for a four-game split with the NL East leading New York Mets, despite winning the first two games of the series. Now, Los Angeles heads to the Windy City to face a White Sox team that has won two straight.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago White Sox
Tuesday, June 07, 2022 – 08:10 PM EDT at Guaranteed Rate Field
No longer the best team in baseball, Los Angeles isn’t even the best team in the National League, falling a game behind the Mets. L.A. now has a better road record than home in the season and will try to add to that in the Windy City.
The White Sox will have no empathy for the Dodgers’ recent struggles, having met with their own share of frustration this year. Expected to repeat as American League Central champs, the Sox have not sat atop the division since April 20 and currently find themselves five games back, in third place, two games below .500.
Chicago did take its last two, at Tampa Bay, to stop a 1-6 slump and show signs that better things may be on the horizon.
Losing the Arms Race
The Dodgers have had the best pitching in baseball most of the season, but the staff has failed them of late. Los Angeles gave up five runs or more in each of their five losses on the homestand. The Dodgers had given up five or more just six times in the entire month of May prior to that.
Dodgers pitchers are likely suffering from fatigue, after Los Angeles played 31 games in 30 days, including games each of the last 17 days. The Dodgers got an off day on Monday, which should help to refresh some arms.
Even with its latest struggles, L.A. still has the best run differential in baseball, and the team is trying to keep things in perspective.
“It’s just ending on a sour note, obviously, to lose two in a row at home,” manager Dave Roberts said. “But the body of work, 19-12 (over the last 30 days), considering what we went through, is pretty positive.”
The Dodgers will start the road trip with righthander Mitch White on the mound. He is 1-1 with a 4.79 ERA on the year and has started his last three games after opening the year in the bullpen. His last start, against Pittsburgh, saw him go five innings for the first time this season.
No Place Like It
Like the Dodgers, the White Sox have been better on the road than at home this year, going .500 away from Chicago and two games under on their home field.
The differences have been across the board. Sox batters are hitting 39 points better on the road and have 66 points higher OPS than at home. Pitchers have more than a run higher ERA at home, give up 18 more points in OPS and have a strikeout to walk ratio that’s 60 points worse.
And things are getting worse, not better. The Sox went 4-2 on their first home stand of the year and haven’t had a winning record for any of the three homestands since.
The White Sox host the Dodgers and Rangers on this homestand, not an easy draw, to be sure. But after back-to-back one-run wins in Tampa, Chicago is ready to turn things around at home.
“You see what our record is, but we’ve got guts, we like to compete and we’re tough enough,” manager Tony La Russa said. “The talent is there, and the toughness is there. … It’s a challenging homestand, but our pitchers are set up well for it. Let’s have at it.”
The Sox will start Michael Kopech, who has lost two of his last three starts to drop to 1-2, 2.20 on the year.
The sweep by the Pirates was embarrassing, but the split with the Mets in games that had a playoff atmosphere could have been more disheartening for the Dodgers. The team needs to turn around its confidence, and White is not the top choice to provide that type of outing. Look for the Sox to tee off in the opener.
MLB Pick: Over 8.5 Runs (+100) at BetOnline
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