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Know Your Enemy: Cleveland Baseball Team

Still haven’t changed their name

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Outside of the Rangers and the Red Sox, this schedule feels very “2020 Regionals.” That’s partially due to playing Cleveland three times in a month, which is really just too much. I do want to be a fly on the wall when MLB is figuring out scheduling, just once, to see what sort of bingo caller they use.

Last Time

This is the third meeting between Cleveland and the White Sox and the season is only one month old. In five meetings, the White Sox have taken three. Carlos Rodón is especially pleased playing them, because they did give him his first career no-hitter. Zack Plesac had a some terrible outings the two times he’s faced the White Sox, which is a trend I would not be mad if we continued.

How’s it Going?

Cleveland has lost six of their last 10, which is not going to get you into the postseason. It faced the Twins, Yankees, and Reds, and with how poorly the Yankees have been doing so far you would think that series wouldn’t be hard. Cleveland did manage to beat the Twins, who are on fire in a bad way, so at least it has that going for them.

The club has gone 4-6 on the road and are 4-7 against LHP (for those who care about lefty/righty). Their offense is slumping, with a team average of .209 (14th in the AL), but the bullpen continues to prop up Cleveland with an ERA of 3.74 (fourth). A strictly “isolate power, home run offense” is exciting to watch, and the pitching is terrific, but if you’re not getting on base and then driving in runs, what exactly are you doing?

With the departure of Francisco Lindor, Franmil Reyes is emerging as the team’s star, slashing .293/.322/.646 in 82 at-bats. José Ramírez is leading in OBP (.333) which is the only thing that Reyes isn’t leading the team in. I know you’re going to be shocked when I tell you that Shane Bieber leads the pitching staff in ERA (2.48), and strikeouts (57). Bieber holds the White Sox to a career .212 average, so it’s always a joy when he’s in town.

The White Sox, meanwhile, have been a tad uneven. After a very poor showing vs. the Tigers on Tuesday, they managed to thoroughly trounce them in yesterday’s doubleheader. Dylan Cease going all seven innings yesterday gave the bullpen some much-needed rest (and breaking his only-four-innings curse) so the relief corps should be fresh and ready to go as we move into the weekend series.

Pitching Match-ups

Today is going to pit Shane Bieber against Dallas Keuchel. Bieber is coming off a career high 119 pitches thrown (vs. Yankees) where he allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings. He rolls in with a 2-2 record and 2.48 ERA this season. Keuchel, meanwhile, is coming off a game where he finally looks like he found his dominance after a shaky start to the season. He threw six scoreless vs. the Rangers and did not allow a walk. Currently he’s got a 1-0 record with a 4.32 ERA that we’re going to be looking to chip away at and get him back down.

Cleveland hasn’t announced who’s pitching Saturday or Sunday (yet) but we should be seeing the return of Lance Lynn on Saturday from the IL. Prior to his trip to the IL he posted a 0.92 ERA and a 1-1 record in three games, culminating in 27 strikeouts (and of course the home opener complete game). Sunday is going to see Lucas Giolito coming back after a showing on Tuesday that could have gone better. Giolito’s ERA has climbed to 5.68 and he’s entering with a 1-2 record.

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Why do we hate them? Well, mostly because they lost the World Series in 2016 and screwed up Rodon’s perfecto.