Plenty of excitement as the White Sox try for a home sweep over the St. Louis today — not just who will win, but what inventive form of collapse the Cardinals will come up with. They’ve handed the Sox two wins so far, so why not go for three?
The Sox were probably going to win both games anyway, but it sure was made easier Monday by a spectacularly stupid non-pitching change by St. Louie manager Mike Shildt (he considers Tony La Russa his guru, so he comes by the incompetence honestly), and Tuesday by a Cardinals defense it’s tempting to call Little League, except that would be a grievous insult to millions of 11- and 12-year olds. T-Ball, maybe.
Things will get no easier for the visitors this afternoon, since the Sox are tossing Carlos Rodón, who recovered from his one “see, I’m just human” performance of the season with a brilliant start against the Yankees on Friday, and with a few exceptions the Cardinals offense is less Bronx Bomber and more Paper Airplane.
Opposing Rodón will be John Gant, whose statistics this year can be met with a resounding, “Huh?” Gant has a sterling 2.04 ERA, but a 4.12 FIP, a very Cease-like differential. The big thing that stands out is that he has all the control of a bumper car with a broken steering wheel — 28 walks in 39 2⁄3 innings — yet has only given up as much as three runs in a game once this year. A big part of the success is keeping the ball in the park — the only homer Gant has allowed all season was back in early April by Bryce Harper.
The righty also has very strong reverse splits. Southpaws are only hitting .206 against him, northpaws .260. So, naturally, our Hall-of-Famer Baseball Person has Adam Eaton hitting second, behind Nick Madrigal, with Tim Anderson getting the day off.
The Cardinals are taking some of the challenge away from Rodón by giving Yadier Molina an afternoon-after-a-night-game rest.
That’s a lineup with four batters hitting .203 or below, mostly way below.
Beautiful day for baseball. First pitch 1:10 Central, usual NBC Sports Channel/WMVP 1000 combo. Jeremy Karll has your postgame Six Pack.