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Series preview: Cleveland vs. White Sox

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How can this series possibility live up to the first one a week ago?

Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

These two teams played a four-game set just last week and it was a mix of beauty of horror. Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito provided one of the best pitching matchups we’ve seen in a while, but Carlos Rodón finally did the inevitable and threw a no-hitter against the 2021 Cleveland baseball team.

Chicago will enter this series having split their four-game series with the Red Sox over the weekend. They suffered a blowout in Monday morning’s game, with Lucas Giolito being knocked out in the second inning. The game followed a double-header, and with their bullpen already taxed, the White Sox turned to position players as pitchers in the seventh inning.

Being that these two played so recently not much has changed. There will be no Bieber-Giolito power battle again, but assuming Zach Plesac doesn’t implode again there is at least one interesting matchup to look forward to.

Weather will likely be an issue. Rain is expected all day in Cleveland Tuesday, and it could get cold enough to snow on Wednesday. If either game is delayed and not able to immediately be a doubleheader, Cleveland and Chicago play each other again on April 30 through May 2. Both games are 6:10 p.m. ET starts so plan your wild evenings afterward accordingly.

Team at a glance

  • Record: 8-9
  • Runs Scored: 57
  • Run Differential: 5
  • Last 10: 5-5
  • Slash: .243/.331/.379
  • OPS: .710
  • wRC+: 108
  • ERA: 3.72
  • SIERA: 3.41
  • K-BB%: 19.7%

Projected starters

Tuesday, April 20, 6:10 p.m. ET: LHP Carlos Rodón vs. Zach Plesac
You know him, and you know what he did his last time out. Carlos Rodón, a guy I described in the last series preview as essentially “not really that great, but he throws left-handed so look out,” no-hit Cleveland. In case you need a refresher: last week he pitched nine innings and was two outs away from a perfect game before a slider got away and struck Roberto Pérez on the foot. He still ended with a no-hitter with seven strikeouts.

The thing to watch Tuesday will be if Zach Plesac can put his last start behind him. The White Sox chased him in the first inning last Wednesday, with six earned runs off seven hits. Plesac didn’t issue a walk or a strikeout — everything was put into play, and most of it was hit hard.

Wednesday, April 21, 6:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. TBD (Aaron Civale?)
No one seems to know who is starting for the White Sox on Wednesday. By my count, Dylan Cease would be next in line, but there’s also the possibility of a bullpen day. I asked friend of the website Josh Nelson over at Sox Machine, and he suggested it could be 23-year-old Jonathan Stiever making his 2021 debut as the starter and being replaced as needed. Stiever featured a standard four-seam/slider/changeup/curveball combination in his two starts last year. The righty pitched 6.1 innings last season with seven earned runs off seven hits and four home runs.

Lineup highlights

DH, Yermín Mercedes - Until he slows down, it will always be worth talking about Yermín Mercedes. The Red Sox did the unthinkable and held him without a hit on Sunday, only the second time this season he hasn’t recorded a hit in a game. The other came during Shane Bieber’s complete-game shutout last week. Mercedes is currently slashing a totally sustainable .404/.443/.684 slash with four home runs and a 223 wRC+.

OF, Adam Eaton - I want to hate Adam Eaton, I really do, but deep down I know if he was on my team I would love the fact that he fake bunted late in a no-hitter, leaned out to take a pitch on the elbow, and forgot how his arms work while holding onto a base. He has quietly been one of Chicago’s best bats this year with a .268/.370/.482 slash and three home runs. His walk rate is in the double digits for the first time since 2018 as he’s getting by on great plate discipline and not exactly hitting the ball hard.

While he did apologize shortly after pushing Andres Gimenez and causes a benches-clearing bruhaha last week, it will be worth keeping an eye on if he starts getting under Cleveland's skin again this series.

White Sox roster

Poll

How many games will Cleveland win against the White Sox?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    2
    (29 votes)
  • 49%
    1
    (39 votes)
  • 13%
    0
    (11 votes)
79 votes total Vote Now