Chicago White Sox rookie Andrew Vaughn will attempt to give family and friends something to cheer about when his so-far-quiet homecoming ends Thursday afternoon against the host Oakland Athletics.
The lifelong San Francisco Bay Area resident and former University of California star has gone 0-for-9 with three strikeouts in the first two games of the White Sox-A’s series, which the teams have split.
After facing right-handed starters James Kaprielian and Frankie Montas in the first two games of the series, Vaughn will get a crack at lefty Sean Manaea (8-9, 3.91 ERA) in the final regular-season game between Chicago and Oakland this season.
Vaughn, a right-handed hitter, has batted much better against left-handers than right-handers this season. Despite getting far fewer tries against lefties (110 at-bats) than righties (282), he has hit more home runs against southpaws (8-7) while batting .291 against them, as opposed to .223 against right-handers.
The No. 3 overall pick of the 2019 draft, Vaughn made the Chicago roster this year out of spring training, but he is in the midst of a 1-for-21 slump. The trip to Oakland is the first of his pro career.
“It’s been amazing,” he said of his rookie campaign for a team leading the American League Central. “We have such a good club, such good guys, and we’re playing good baseball. Winning is fun. We’ve just got to keep it rolling.”
The White Sox have won four of six against the A’s this year in a rematch of the 2020 playoffs, a first-round series Oakland won 2-1.
Manaea didn’t pitch in that series, and his turn in the rotation didn’t come up when the A’s visited Chicago last month, so he has never faced Vaughn.
He has opposed the White Sox just once, in an 11-2 win at Chicago on June 22, 2018. Manaea worked seven innings in that contest, allowing one run on five hits and no walks while striking out seven.
Having gone to the bullpen a total of 15 times over the previous four games and watched his relievers serve up 21 runs and 26 hits in those 16 innings, A’s manager Bob Melvin was happy to see just two pitchers handle the entire nine innings Wednesday in a 5-1 win. Frankie Montas went the first seven innings and Andrew Chafin handled the last two.
“It was nice,” Melvin said. “It gives us another day (of rest) for the (Sergio) Romos and (Yusmeiro) Petits and Dieks (Jake Diekman). So it benefits a lot.”
Manaea and Oakland’s fresh bullpen are expected to be opposed in the series finale by Reynaldo Lopez (3-1, 2.08 ERA). The right-hander has pitched brilliantly in four career starts against the A’s, going 2-1 with a 0.77 ERA.
One of those starts was Aug. 17 at home against the A’s, when he threw five innings of shutout ball in a 9-0 win.
Lopez, who began the season in the minors, has been brought along slowly as a White Sox starter, never having thrown more than 75 pitches in a game this season.
He is coming off a no-decision at Kansas City on Saturday, when he allowed the Royals three runs in four innings.
Pitchers have gotten the better of the hitters in the first two games of the series, with Oakland having outscored Chicago 8-7. There has been just one homer in the two games, that coming off the bat of A’s third baseman Matt Chapman on Wednesday.
–Field Level Media