Baseball

Series Preview – White Sox at Cleveland: Rona Rodeo

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RECORDS: White Sox 1-2 / Indians 2-1

START TIMES: Mon/Tues 6:10, Wed 5:10

TV: NBCSCH

Too High? What Do You Mean Too High?:   Let’s Go Tribe

 

PROBABLE STARTERS:

Monday: Dylan Cease vs. Aaron Civale

Tuesday: Carlos Rodon vs. Zach Plesac

Wednesday: Lucas Giolito vs. Shane Bieber

 

So after the orbital strike from Nelson Cruz and company this weekend, the Sox pitching staff looks to right the ship versus another sold offensive team (though not to the extent of the Twins). The Tribe come into this series after taking two of three from the moribund Royals on opening weekend. While Cleveland dropped 9 on the heads of the Royals on Sunday, the other two days saw them fight to scratch across 2 runs against the legendary KC rotation. On the pitching side of things the Cleveland Triumvirate of Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, and Carlos Carrasco made short work of the Royals bats, only giving up 2 runs between the 3 of them, to go along with 30 (!) strikeouts. Fortunately for the Sox they miss 2/3rds of them, only having to deal with The Biebs on Wednesday.

The offense of the Tribe is still fired by Francisco Lindor (at least until they don’t pay him and he ends up in pinstripes), who along with Jose Ramirez and the rapidly aging Carlos Santana provide most of the pop from the middle of the order. Ramirez had a rough year in 2019, with a steep drop in both his batting average and Slugging percentages from the previous season. His .806 OPS was the lowest since 2015, before his first full season in the league. On the flip side, Santana had an excellent year in 2019 posting a .911 OPS to go along with 34 dingers and 92 RBI. While he continues to slow down on the basepaths and is no longer a viable option behind the dish, Santana is still a force at the plate and his ability to hit for pop from both sides should be something Sox pitching (and Rick Renteria) should keep in mind.

For the Sox, the main storyline is still the 9.00 team ERA heading into this series. While there were a few bright spots over the weekend (Keuchel, Lambert and Marshall to name a few), the bad hovered over the heads of the rotation like a Lucas Giolito fastball exiting the stratosphere. Dylan Cease and the freshly elbow-ed Carlos Rodon get their chance to erase the bad memories of the weekend as they take the bump Monday and Tuesday. The bullpen would appreciate them lasting at least 5 innings each, as the workload thrust upon them Friday and Sunday is not conductive to long term health.

On the offensive side of the field, the Sox are in pretty good shape unless Eloy is still dizzy from running into the LF fence yesterday. If he is unable to go, get ready for an outfield that features Luis Robert (that’s good!), Nicky Delmonico (that’s bad), and Potassium Benzoate (that’s Engel). Can I go now? Yoan Moncada should be in the lineup all 3 games, as all 3 starters are righties and we saw this weekend that he hasn’t missed a step in punishing them. I would also hope Grandal would be hitting in all three as well, giving the Sox 4 lefties to counter the Tribe’s starters.

Realistically there’s no reason the Sox shouldn’t be able to take 2 of 3 here, as the Tribe struggled to find hits against the likes of Brady Singer and Danny Duffey (both of whom are less than Cease and Rodon, though Singer may have a future). If they’re able to neutralize 2 of the 3 hitters mentioned above the Sox bats should be able to provide sufficent offense to propel them to the series win and a good palate cleanse after Sunday’s debacle. The pitching matchup Wednesday could be fun, but only if Giolito finds the command of his fastball. If he’s back to what he was in 2019, the game could be over before the sun goes down.

Of course, none of this will matter if MLB shuts down because of the fucking Miami Marlins and the Rona Party they probably had with a bunch of Philly strippers over the weekend. Why is it ALWAYS Florida?

 

Let’s Go Sox

 

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