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Yankees vs. White Sox series preview

The Yankees make the trip back to the Stadium to welcome the White Sox for a three-game set starting Monday. Last time in Chicago, New York completed a sweep, outscoring the Pale Hose 18-6 in the series.

The Yankees are hot, as they have won eight of their last nine games including a four-game sweep of the Orioles most recently. They are creeping in the division, as the skidding Red Sox coughed up three and a half games this weekend as a result of getting swept by the Rays. Entering play on Monday, the Bombers sit six games back and five in the loss column with over a month still left to play, which includes six head-to-head contests against Boston

The White Sox have played some good baseball as of late, going 10-5 since getting swept by the Yanks at the beginning of August. They have won four straight series, but face a tough week having to play New York and Boston back-to-back.

Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Carlos Rodon

Tanaka (9-4, 3.90 ERA) has pitched like an ace since July. He’s allowed two earned runs or less in six of his last eight starts, while averaging close to six innings per start in that stretch. Aside from one blunder pitching against the Rangers, Tanaka has been dominant and a massive part of the recent success of the starting rotation.

Although he hasn’t pitched against the White Sox this year, there is no reason to think he will slow down, as he owns a 2.23 ERA in five career starts against Chicago.

Rodon (5-3, 2.71 ERA) has shaved his ERA nearly a run over the course of a month and a half, as he is experiencing much success recently as well. Over his last five starts, he’s pitched to a 1.77 ERA, rolling through the likes of Cleveland, Toronto and Minnesota. He’s held his opponents to a .519 OPS in that stretch.

In four starts against the Yankees, Rodon has a 7.11 ERA. Although, one of those starts came at Yankee Stadium, where he went six innings and allowed just two runs.

Game 2: Lance Lynn vs James Shields

Lynn (8-9, 4.84 ERA) was cruising until the sixth inning in his last start against the Marlins. It seemed like he ran out of steam and ended up allowing five runs in a 9-3 loss. It has been rough for the 31-year-old in his last two starts, but overall he hasn’t been bad for the Yankees.

Lynn can get back on track against the White Sox, who he threw 7.1 shutouts innings against last time he faced them in Chicago. This year, Lynn has a 2.95 ERA in three starts against the White Sox, and a 2.15 ERA through six career starts.

Shields (5-15, 4.59 ERA) has been relatively consistent this year for the White Sox; just not consistently good. His ERA has fluctuated between 4.00-4.60 for most of the year, and it is no different in August; he’s got a 4.73 ERA this month. That number would have been a lot lower if he hadn’t given up seven runs to the Tigers in his previous outing.

Against the Yankees, Shields is 12-16 with a 4.08 ERA in 33 career starts. At Yankee Stadium, he pitches a little bit better to the tune of a 3.78 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 10 starts.

Game 3: CC Sabathia vs Reynaldo Lopez

Sabathia (7-4, 3.30 ERA) looked solid in his first start since being activated from the DL in Baltimore. He allowed two runs over six innings while striking out eight. His current ERA is his lowest since 2011, as the southpaw has been one of the more consistent arms in the rotation this season.

Last time against the White Sox, Sabathia set a new season-high with 12 strikeouts while allowing one runs over 5.2 innings of work.

Lopez (4-9, 4.66 ERA), ever since permitting one run over seven innings to the Yankees on August 7, has been roughed up by two low-tier teams in the league. Two of his last three starts were against the Tigers, where he gave up six runs over 10.2 innings. On the other hand, the third start was against the Royals, where he got tagged for six runs in just two innings.

Setting the tone for this home stand with a series win is crucial, as the Yankees have made significant progress in the division race recently. More importantly, a West Coast road trip that includes the Athletics is a week away, and going there with some momentum is imperative to try and cool down baseball’s hottest team.