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Know Your Enemy: Cleveland Baseball Team

Seriously, guys, change your name

We’re back with our regional enemy, the Cleveland Baseball Team! Does anyone else get sick of playing Cleveland and the Royals 75 times each year? It definitely doesn’t feel like we play the Tigers or the Twins this much.

Last Meetings

The White Sox are currently tied with Cleveland, with a 4-4 record. Eight times we’ve played already, in the first two months of the season! Cleveland took the last series in Chicago, and the White Sox took the one game in Cleveland (there was some weather, which is why we have a doubleheader today). These have not been low-scoring games (5-0, 8-5, 8-0) and now that the White Sox are hitting on a more consistent basis, expect the offense to continue. Cleveland has seen a lot of Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodón this year, and they have really been the ones to rout Cleveland, taking the wins each time.

How’s it Going?

Overall, Cleveland has won seven of its last 12 and are 12-11 at home in 2021. It narrowly avoided a sweep by Toronto, who took two of three in the series. Prior to that, Cleveland blew through the Tigers and limping Twins. The 2021 season hasn’t been without challenges for Cleveland — most notably that they’ve lost Zach Plesac to a fractured finger, which happened while aggressively taking off his shirt (whatever factory Cleveland uses to churn out pitchers really needs to do some work in the brains department). Cleveland is also without Jordan Luplow, Franmil Reyes, perfect game killer Roberto Perez, and Cam Hill.

Terry Francona will be rejoining the team Monday after being gone for the weekend attending his daughter’s wedding. This was not the first time Francona’s missed games (in 2017 he had heart surgery, and most of last season he dealt with a blood clotting issue) but Cleveland performs the same whether or not he’s around.

Think it’s bad that the White Sox have two doubleheaders in three days? Well, Cleveland had a doubleheader yesterday, so it can always be worse.

Pitching Match-Ups: Probables

Today’s Game 1 is Carlos Rodón vs. Triston McKenzie. McKenzie was sent to Triple-A but came back up Wednesday after Plesac’s stupid thumb injury. McKenzie has a 1-3 record with a 5.94 ERA and 49 strikeouts. McKenzie didn’t make any starts during his brief stint in Triple-A, and his last start against the White Sox resulted in a loss. Rodón has won both his starts against Cleveland this season, his first being the no-hitter on April 14. In his second start, he went five innings and allowed three hits and one earned run.

Game 2 is Jimmy Lambert vs. tbd. Lambert was called up from Triple-A Charlotte as today’s 27th man. Lambert made two appearances in relief in 2020, so this is his first major league start. Lambert has made five starts in Charlotte, with a 7.71 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 11 23 innings. He will not be ticketed to go long in this nightcap.

Tuesday is Dylan Cease vs. Shane “Not Justin” Bieber. Cease has a nice 2.98 ERA and 3-1 record, with two outings of double-digit strikeouts and allowing three or fewer runs in nine of his 10 starts. Cease hasn’t faced Cleveland in 2021, but during his outings in 2020 he had one win, going five innings and allowing two hits, and one loss, lasting 2 13 and giving up seven hits and four earned runs. His appearance against Cleveland in 2019 resulted in a no-decision. Bieber has won both outings in 2021 against the White Sox, allowing three hits and going nine innings during his first appearance. Bieber is posting a 3.13 ERA with a 5-3 record so far in 2021,

Wednesday is Lance Lynn vs. tbd on Lou Gehrig Day. Lynn will be on three day’s rest after five scoreless innings in Saturday’s doubleheader, allowing three hits and striking out seven. He’s holding a 1.37 ERA (which is the second-best in all baseball), leads the team with six wins, and won five times in May. Lynn has split his outings against Cleveland, losing his first appearance against Aaron Civale and winning the second against McKenzie. During the second outing (May 1), he went five innings and gave up three earned runs.

Why Do We Still Hate Them?

Like we really needed a reason but ...