RECORDS: White Sox 60-76 / Indians 79-58
START TIMES: Monday-Wednesday 6:10, Thursday 12:10
TV: Mon/Wed/Thurs NBCSN, Tuesday WGN
Too High? What Do You Mean Too High?: Let’s Go Tribe
So this is kind of a big series for the Tribe. If they have any deigns on the postseason, they’re going to have to start now. Cleveland (much like in real life) is currently hanging onto the final wild card spot by the last millimeters of their fingernails, only .5 games ahead of Oakland. Unless something wacky happens in Boston, it’s a 3 horse race for the 2 wild card spots, and Cleveland has not fared well against the other two remaining teams. Last Friday they had a decent lead heading into their series against Tampa Bay, but that floated away on the wind after the Rays took 3 straight. The Tribe muddled their way through August, going one game over .500 in the month (which is not what you’d want out of a team with playoff aspirations).
For a bit there, things were looking up for them as it seemed Cory Kluber was ready to come back and Jose Ramirez had finally broken out of his year long slump. Then Klubot strained his oblique during a rehab start and hasn’t pitched since, and Ramirez broke his hand while swinging a bat a week ago. Whoops. One cool thing, however, is the return yesterday of Carlos Carrasco who pitched in relief for the first time since being diagnosed a few months ago with leukemia. It’s an awesome story, and I’m glad he’s doing well.
With Kluber going down and Carrasco having to take time off, the starting rotation has had some big holes to fill. Luckily for the Tribe some rookies have stepped up to fill in the gap. Monday’s starter Zach Plesac (nephew of journeyman and most famous person to escape Gary, IN Dan Plesac) has acquitted himself nicely in the number 4 starter slot. He’s gone 7-5 since being called up with a 3.61 ERA, and 1.21 WHIP. He’s primarily a fastball/changeup kinda guy, with a decent slider and a solid curveball rounding out his arsenal. Plesac has had quite a bit of batted ball luck so far this season, with a .244 BABIP and an over 80% strand rate, so at some point the regression monster is going to come for the guy. It hasn’t yet, and the Sox are going to have to contend with his luck tonight. Shane Bieber continues his ascent towards the top of the Tribe’s rotation with another excellent year so far, posting a 3.27 ERA and a crazily low 1.01 WHIP thus far. His 30% K rate against his 5% walk rate is something to behold, and with a .285 BABIP there’s not much room for regression. Between those two and adding in Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco the Tribe’s rotation is gonna be set for a long while.
Offensively this team still has it’s table set by superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor. He’s having another atypical season for himself, slashing .296/.347/.878 with 26 HR. The more impressive thing about that is he missed almost the entire month of April after messing up his ankle preparing for spring training. Carlos Santana has been able to dial back the clock to his early days in Cleveland by hitting a very solid .290/.411/.954 so far, well on his way to a 40 HR, 100 RBI campaign. He’s a switch hitter that absolutely murders right handed pitching, so the Sox rotation is going to need to tread lightly around him (and maybe Moncada can take some notes). Yasiel Puig is also here, the main piece of the deal that sent starting pitcher and Professional Twitter Edgelord Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati. The Tribe filled their need of OF help by dealing from a position of strength as they also got HR machine Franmil Reyes from the Padres as part of the deal.
For our White Sox, the story remains the same. The starters need to go 5-6 innings a piece to give a badly taxed bullpen some relief. The return of Carson Fulmer and Manny Banuelos should help, but it would be nice to see the rotation carry it’s weight after getting scorched by the Braves this past weekend. Eloy Jimenez seems to be getting the timing of his swing back after his 23rd stint on the IL this season, but needs to hit for power as it’s been 11 games now since he’s had an extra base hit. Whatever other September call ups are not here yet, as Charlotte is trying to get into the postseason down in AAA, so it’ll be a bit before Zack Collins heads North. With Jon Jay fucking back off to the IL with hip surgery you can plan on seeing more of Adam Engel and Ryan Cordell wandering around the outfield grass and flailing around the batters box like a used car inflatable air dancer.
It would be nice for the Sox to play spoiler this series and help Cleveland screw themselves out of a postseason appearance, since they can’t do the same to the Twins. That way the depression in Cleveland can roll right into the NFL season when the Browns inevitably crush everyone’s hopes when Baker Mayfield turns back into a pumpkin.
Lets Go Sox