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Series Preview: Indians at White Sox

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Can the Indians continue to hit changeups, or are we in for a long series?

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Even while being hammered with injuries and pre-season opt-outs, the Chicago White Sox are somehow still above .500 and in the race with the Cleveland Indians for the American League Central. Both teams are chasing the Minnesota Twins, who are 10-3 on the season with a +29 run differential, second best in the majors behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A sweep for either side will not end the season by any means, but it will put a dent in their division-winning hopes. Luckily everyone gets into the playoffs this year so there are still plenty of chances to get in.

White Sox batters are tied for third in MLB with a 120 wRC+ and their 17 home runs has them ninth. They don’t walk much, with one of the lowest walk rates in the majors at 7.4%.

Their starting rotation is the place where the Indians will have a chance to get ahead of them, assuming the new-look approach the Tribe displayed against the Cincinnati Reds sticks around. Chicago starters — reeling from injuries to Carlos Rodón and Reynaldo López, plus the pre-season opt-out of Micahel Kopech — have the sixth-worst earned run average at 5.46 and one of the lowest strikeouts rates in the majors.

Team in a box

2020 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record 18-39
Record 18-39
Runs Scored 202
Runs Allowed 286
Run Differential -84
Last 10 4-6
AVG .218
OBP .282
SLG .349
OPS .631
wRC+ 71
ERA 4.71
SIERA 4.48
K-BB% 13.2%

Projected starters

Friday, August 7, 8:10 p.m. ET: RHP Dylan Cease vs. Aaron Civale

Dylan Cease was rocked by the Indians in his debut — he allowed four runs in 2.1 innings. His next outing, against the Kansas City Royals, went considerably better. He allowed two runs in 6.0 innings and struck out four. He’s a heavy fastball pitcher that the Indians should be able to hit.

Saturday, August 8, 2:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Zach Plesac

Poor TBD can’t catch a break. After pitching nearly the entire series for the Twins last week, he finds himself on the White Sox, probably crying himself to sleep.

Sunday, August 9, 2:10 p.m. ET: RHP Lucas Giolito vs. Shane Bieber

You like changeups? ‘Cause you’re gonna see a lot of changeups. Lucas Giolito has never been shy about his approach of pumping nothing but off-speed at the Indians lineup, but there’s some hope after the Indians were able to manage a couple hits off Luis Castillo Thursday night. Last time he faced the Indians, Giolito threw his changeup 40 times and Indians batters whiffed on it 10 times and watched it go by for a strike seven more. He finished with 6.0 scoreless innings and six strikeouts.

Lineup highlights

OF, Luis Robert - Luis Robert is turning heads with his unbelievable power, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that he is the fastest player in baseball right now, according to sprint speed. His measured 29.4 feet-per-second narrowly edges out Royals speedster Aldaberto Mondesi’s 29.3 feet-per-second in a limited sample size.

OF, Leury García - I could talk about the White Sox’s up-and-coming young talent all day, but let’s talk about someone who has been around for a bit, instead. Leury García is hardly knocking on the door to retirement at 29, but this is already his eighth year in the majors since he debuted with the Rangers in 2013. He’s mostly served as a backup on the White Sox but he got full playing time last year and ended up with a 1.3 fWAR, a .279/.310/.378 slash, and the definition of mediocre. This season, however, he has suddenly stopped striking out (8.5%) and he has a .326/.383/.558 slash in 47 plate appearances. Even with the shortened season, he’s on pace to top his previous high of eight home runs — he already has three in 12 games. He will probably slow down eventually, hopefully starting this weekend.

White Sox roster

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the White Sox?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    3
    (27 votes)
  • 59%
    2
    (75 votes)
  • 11%
    1
    (14 votes)
  • 8%
    0
    (11 votes)
127 votes total Vote Now