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Series preview: Cleveland vs. White Sox

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Surely there are more teams Cleveland could be playing in the month of April

Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Hey, it’s the White Sox again. Yermín Mercedes great, Dallas Keuchel ground balls, Tim Anderson fun — you know the drill.

These two teams have had a series each of the last three weeks, though last week’s was cut in half by snow. They’ll play a doubleheader on Memorial Day to make up for the lost game.

The White Sox enter this series having won six of the last seven games they played, including their 8-5 win over Cleveland last Tuesday. Yesterday they beat on the poor Tigers bullpen, 11-0, after Matthew Boyd left in the second inning with an apparent knee injury. That win came as part of their doubleheader sweep.

The White Sox’s injury woes started with their outfield early in the season, and now they are without reliever Garrett Crochet, a fireballer who hasn’t been able to hit 100 mph this season.

No matter, though. Chicago is absolutely rolling right now, winning seven of their last 10 with one of the best run differentials in baseball at plus-31. They’ll be catching the AL Central-leading Royals in no time.

Team at a glance

  • Record: 14-10
  • Runs Scored: 124
  • Run Differential: +31
  • Last 10: 8-2
  • Slash: .267/.345/.412
  • wOBA: .334
  • wRC+: 122
  • ERA: 3.57
  • SIERA: 3.37
  • K-BB%: 20%

Projected starters

Friday, April 30, 8:10 p.m. ET: LHP Dallas Keuchel vs. Shane Bieber
For a team that can’t seem to create their own BABIP luck, there is no worse pitcher to face than Dallas Keuchel. The human groundball machine himself held Cleveland to three runs over five innings the last time he faced them, only striking out two but inducing groundballs at a dizzying rate. He’s pitched twice since then, holding the Rangers and Boston to two runs over 11 innings. You probably already know (and hate) his sinker-changeup-cutter arsenal and will continue to marvel as he shuts down your favorite baseball team while barely touching 88 mph.

Saturday, May 1, 4:05 p.m. ET: RHP Lance Lynn vs. TBD (Triston McKenzie)
Cleveland may need to be careful of whiplash going from the all off-speed repertoire of Dallas Keuchel to the fastball buffet that is Lance Lynn. In his three starts this year, Lynn has ridden all three of his fastballs (and the very rare curveball) to a 0.92 ERA over 19.2 innings. His only runs allowed this season came against Cleveland his last time out, though he struck out 10 batters in the process.

Sunday, May 2, 2:10 p.m. ET: LHP Lucas Giolito vs. TBD (Zach Plesac)
After his seven-run, one-inning debacle in Boston on April 19, Lucas Giolito bounced back against the Tigers, allowing four earned runs over 6.2 innings. He struck out seven and walked three — hardly a vintage Giolito outing, but a step in the right direction. He also shouldn’t have been in the game as long as he was.

Giolito admitted after the game that he was out of gas when his manager, Tony La Russa, wanted him to come out for the seventh. He wasn’t pulled until he walked two batters and gave up a double, a home run, and three of his four earned runs. La Russa claimed he “didn’t recognize” that Giolito was running on fumes.

Lineup highlights

DH, Yermín Mercedes - I mean, he has to slow down eventually, right? After setting the baseball world on fire in his first week of the season, he’s moved onto other worlds and is well on his way to turning the galaxy to ash.

The Yerminator, as he’s known, has only been held hitless in one game where he was in the starting lineup — April 20 against Cleveland. He responded by going 4-for-4 against the Rangers and now has a hit in five straight games.

Mercedes currently holds a ridiculous .423/.464/.679 slash with five home runs. He’s not hitting the ball particularly hard, at least not as hard as you would think a guy with a .679 slugging percentage would be hitting the ball, but he’s hitting everything square and getting balls to the outfield with consistency. The key to finally shutting him down may just be to avoid the zone altogether — he chases out of the zone frequently and doesn’t walk much.

OF, Andrew Vaughn - There was a brief adjustment period for 23-year-old Andrew Vaughn, who hadn’t played above High-A prior to 2021 but was thrust into a starting outfield role due to multiple injuries, but it seems to have passed. He’s turned a hitless streak of 12 plate appearances to start his career into a respectable .273/.385/.386 slash with a 13.5% walk rate. The lofty potential of his hit tool has been on display early with hard-hit balls sprayed all over the field. The power hasn’t come yet — he hasn’t even homered — but it will eventually.

Vaughn was blanked in the first game of Chicago’s doubleheader yesterday, but went 3-for-4 in the Game 2 blowout.

White Sox roster

Poll

How many games will Cleveland win against the White Sox?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    3
    (4 votes)
  • 20%
    2
    (15 votes)
  • 55%
    1
    (41 votes)
  • 18%
    0
    (14 votes)
74 votes total Vote Now