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2023 Season | Series #34 | Guardians @ White Sox | July 27-30, 2023

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Wham with the Right Hand

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Winners of three straight series by 2-1 scores the Guardians head west for a four-game weekend series against the floundering White Sox. The Sox started 7-21, recovered somewhat to top out at 29-36, but have since gone 12-26. They have lost 8 of 11 since the break.

The Guardians are puttering along with a 51-51 record and a 6-6 record since the break, but half those games were against KC and Pittsburgh.

The Sox are better at home, just six games under .500 against 15 under on the road. Mike Clevinger is out.

The Sox have been a huge disappointment this year as I believe many picked them to win the Central. Their best hitter has been Luis Robert (.270/.884, 28 home runs), followed by Andrew Benintendi (.284/.721). Eloy Jimenez is hitting a respectable .284/.811 and has managed to play in 67 of their 102 games. Jake Burger is hitting .256/.927 at home. Burger also likes Cleveland pitching, hitting .261/.859, while Yasmani Grandal has been the biggest thorn in the Guardians’ side at .412/1.000. As a team the Sox are averaging 4.3 runs per game against the Guardians.

This will be the third series between these teams. The Sox lead the season series 4-2.

The Sox’s statistics reflect their record. They are 23rd in runs per game at 4.2, 29th in on-base percentage, 24th in slugging percentage, 21st in batting average, and last in walks per game. The Sox chase more pitches out of the zone than any team; the Guardians chase the second most. These are the two most undisciplined teams in baseball so there should be a lot of hacking at bad pitches by both teams, although yesterday’s trade of Amed Rosario improve the Guardians out-of-zone swing percentage.

The Sox pitchers are 25th in ERA, 29th in walks per game, and 27th in home runs allowed per game. But they’re 1st in strikeouts per nine innings at 9.70. They seem to have good arms but not great command. So this series will be the irresistible force against the immovable object; the Sox lead the majors in strikeouts while the Guardians have the lowest K percentage.

Defensively the Sox are awful, ranking as the league’s second-worst according to Defensive Runs Saved and tied for the third-worst according to Outs Above Average. In a four-game series we can always count on the White Sox to gift us a few runs, or at least extend innings.

Tanner Bibee leads off against Dylan Cease. In 21 starts Cease has a record of 4-3 and a 4.04 ERA. He’s allowed just two runs in his last two starts. In two starts against Cleveland this year the Guardians have tagged him for five runs in 12.1 innings. They only hit .217. but have two home runs off him. Gabriel Arias is 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. My guess is he starts at short tonight.

Bibee is 6-2, 3.04 ERA in 15 starts. He is coming on like gangbusters having allowed only four earned runs in his last five starts. In his last start he shut out the Phillies on two hits over seven innings. He has not faced the White Sox.

Game 2 will feature Lucas Giolito (6-6, 3.79) against an unnamed starter for the Guards. In Game 3 Logan Allen goes against an unannounced starter while in Game 4 Civale takes on Michael Kopech (4-9, 4.44).

We are just five days away from the trade deadline. There are far more buyers than sellers and the Sox are definitely sellers. We might see them make a move during this series. From the New York Post:

The Chicago White Sox are opening up for business as a seller, according to sources, and they plan to seriously consider deals for all but four cornerstone players on their roster: Dylan Cease, Andrew Vaughn, Eloy Jimenez and of course All-Star Luis Robert Jr., who is second among AL position players in WAR (4.1) and under a reasonable contract through 2027, including two option years at $20 million per.

Free-agents-to-be Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Keynan Middleton are the most likely to go in trade, with Giolito, who will bring the most, expected to draw interest from the Reds, Rangers and others.
 
What happened to Tim Anderson? Dude's bat has completely fallen off.
 
I am going to take a stab at the lineup...

I am guessing it will be (possible)

LF Kwan, 2B Gimenez, 3B JRam, 1B Naylor, DH Bell, CF Brennan, RF OGonz, C Naylor, SS Arias

I like Arias in the 9 hole more than Naylor...

Brennan I like in the two hole better than Gimenez and you could see Brennan and OGonz flipped and Arias could be in front of Naylor... That's just my guess for tonight...
 
Brennan I like in the two hole better than Gimenez and you could see Brennan and OGonz flipped and Arias could be in front of Naylor... That's just my guess for tonight...
Neither Gimenez nor Brennan are ideal 2 hole hitters. One has an OBP of .311 this season and one has an OBP of .307 in his short career. I see projections have Gimenez around .326. That's still not good.

Amed's OBP the last 3 seasons: .321, .312, .306

I don't understand the desire to replace Amed with essentially another Amed, when it comes to getting on base.

Now is the time to finally put Jose where he belongs in the 2 hole, then you can have Bell as #3 and Naylor as #4. Guys who have more difficulty getting on base kept down lower in the lineup.

However, it seems a foregone conclusion that Gimenez is going to be placed in the 2 hole, and I guess we gotta get used to it. What's a Cleveland lineup without a 2 hole hitter who the fans who look at stats see is clearly not suitable for the job? Hell, all we need is a shift over to SS and another Gimenez in the league and he can be Gimenez, ASS.. Sadly, no Gimenezes seem to be on the verge of getting called up.
 
Neither Gimenez nor Brennan are ideal 2 hole hitters. One has an OBP of .311 this season and one has an OBP of .307 in his short career. I see projections have Gimenez around .326. That's still not good.

Amed's OBP the last 3 seasons: .321, .312, .306

I don't understand the desire to replace Amed with essentially another Amed, when it comes to getting on base.

Now is the time to finally put Jose where he belongs in the 2 hole, then you can have Bell as #3 and Naylor as #4. Guys who have more difficulty getting on base kept down lower in the lineup.

However, it seems a foregone conclusion that Gimenez is going to be placed in the 2 hole, and I guess we gotta get used to it. What's a Cleveland lineup without a 2 hole hitter who the fans who look at stats see is clearly not suitable for the job? Hell, all we need is a shift over to SS and another Gimenez in the league and he can be Gimenez, ASS.. Sadly, no Gimenezes seem to be on the verge of getting called up.

Yeah, I was hoping Gimenez would have forced himself into the 2-hole regardless of Amed but he has underwhelmed.

IMO - Freeman will end up there. Might not be until next year though.
 
Yeah, I was hoping Gimenez would have forced himself into the 2-hole regardless of Amed but he has underwhelmed.

IMO - Freeman will end up there. Might not be until next year though.
If Freeman is being integrated into the lineup then they should try to add some power at another position. To do that they could move one of Kwan/Brennan to CF and deal the other. I'm assuming you'd have Freeman at 2B and Gimenez at SS? With one of Kwan/Brennan in CF that still gives you damn good up the middle defense. All we would need is a couple of big corner OF bats. I'm in if that's what you want to do.
 

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