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Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox

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The final AL Central series of the year.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians are currently sitting a half game out of a wild card spot. That’s bad. However, they now start a three-game series against the White Sox, who aren’t a very good baseball team. That’s good. But the White Sox currently lead the season series against the Tribe 9-7. That’s bad. Thankfully, the Tampa Bay Rays, the team that Cleveland is trailing for a wild card spot, are in a series against a very good New York Yankees squad. That’s good.

Team in a box

2019 Chicago White Sox

Record 68-87
Record 68-87
Runs Scored 677
Runs Allowed 810
Run Differential -133
Last 10 4-6
AVG .261
OBP .313
SLG .412
OPS .725
wRC+ 92
K/9 8.30
BB/9 3.74

It’s not been a great year for the White Sox. But it’s not all bad. They’ve got a good, young core that’s starting to hit their stride and should be fully healthy come 2020. A couple of free agent signings in the offseason and the White Sox could prove to be a formidable opponent next year. But for now, they’re pretty bad.

Projected starters

Tuesday, September 24 8:10 p.m. ET: LHP Héctor Santiago (v. Mike Clevinger)

It’s not been a good year for Héctor Santiago. He pitched a grand total of 8.0 innings for the Mets before being DFA’d in June. Two days later, he signed a contract with the White Sox. Since coming over to the AL, he’s mainly been at the Triple-A level. Now, he’s back on the major league roster as a warm body until the season ends. Santiago has been bad both as a starter and a reliever this season; in 28.2 innings across 17 appearances (2 starts), Santiago has allowed 18 earned runs while walking 19 and striking out 29 (ERA+ 80). He has a surprisingly effective fourseam (92 mph) that gets a lot of swings and misses, a change (84 mph) that generates a good amount of flyballs, and a slider (85 mph) that doesn’t do much of anything. His most recent appearance came out of the bullpen on September 15 against the Mariners; in that game, Santiago went 3.2 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 3 hits while walking 6 and striking out 5.

Wednesday, September 25 8:10 p.m. ET: LHP Ross Detwiler (v. Shane Bieber)

Ross Detwiler has also hardly pitched this season. In the limited time he has pitched, he’s been terrible. In 59.1 innings across 16 appearances (10 starts), Detwiler has allowed 46 earned runs while walking 26 and striking out 42 (ERA+ 66). His fourseam (92 mph) and his sinker (91 mph), and change (85 mph) are good for groundballs, his cutter (89 mph) is thrown a bit harder than normal, and his curve (79 mph) can generate both whiffs and flyballs. His most recent start came on September 17 against the Twins; in that game, Detwiler went 5.0 innings and allowed 5 earned runs on 7 hits while walking 4 and striking out 2.

Thursday, September 26 8:10 p.m. ET: RHP Dylan Cease (v. Aaron Civale)

Unlike Santiago and Detwiler, Dylan Cease has not been around the league for several years (this is his rookie campaign). However, very much like Santiago and Detwiler, Cease has not pitched well in 2019. In 73.0 innings across 14 starts, Cease has allowed 47 earned runs while walking 35 and striking out 81 (ERA+ 79). He can throw hard, however; his fourseam (97 mph) is great for getting swings and misses while his slider (85 mph) and curve (80 mph) have substantial movement. His change (83 mph) also has a lot of movement and generates a good amount of flyballs. His most recent start came on September 20 against the Tigers; in that game, Cease went 6.0 innings and allowed 1 earned run on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 8.

Lineup highlights

3B Yoan Moncada: You remember that young core I mentioned a little while ago? Well here’s one of the main players in that core. Yoan Moncada, 24, has exploded in his second season with the White Sox to become their most effective offensive player in 2019. Across 537 plate appearances in 126 games, Moncada is slashing .316/.369/.551 (wRC+ 141). The biggest change for Moncada this season has been his ability to reduce his strikeouts. Sure, he’s still striking out 27.7% of the time, but that’s a big improvement from his 33.4% rate from a year ago. His BABIP has inflated a bit up to .409, so there is a chance that he’s going to fall back to earth a bit, but he’s producing for the White Sox now and they’ll be betting on him to do it again in the future.

SS Tim Anderson: Tim Anderson has finally put up a good season for the White Sox. Across 500 plate appearances in 118 games, Anderson is slashing .334/.354/.512 (wRC+ 129). This season marks the first time since his rookie year in 2016 that Anderson has an OPS above .700 (it’s .866 this year). While his strikeouts are down a touch (21.0%), his BB% is approaching zero at 2.6%, which is not great. His batting average is also 58 points above his career mark, thanks largely in part to a BABIP that is up 53 points from his career mark. The White Sox may be a bit concerned that Anderson’s production is a lot of smoke and mirrors, but it’s possible that his positive results are sustainable moving forward. Only time will tell.

LF Eloy Jiménez: Eloy Jiménez has put up a phenomenal rookie campaign and has put himself in conversations about AL Rookie of the Year. I don’t think he’s done enough to win the award, but being in the same company as Yordan Alvarez, Brandon Lowe, and Luis Arraez is not a bad place to be. Across 488 plate appearances in 118 games, Jiménez is slashing .269/.318/.514 (wRC+ 117). He’s hit 30 home runs before turning 23, so that’s exciting for White Sox fans. All signs point to Jiménez being the real deal, which is awful news for the Cleveland Indians and the rest of the AL Central.

Chicago White Sox roster

FanGraphs

Poll

Will the Indians leave Chicago with a wild card spot?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Yes
    (75 votes)
  • 40%
    No
    (51 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now