The White Sox (45-32) used the old “hey, look...there’s a cloud” story yesterday, perhaps to give José Abreu’s ankle a day of rest or maybe to hope the visitors cool off. Perhaps, they were hoping that being in the big city with a night off, Twins (33-43) players would all have big a night out and massive hangovers today. The White Sox are hard-pressed to use the same excuse not to play tonight, even though there’s a much higher likelihood of rain.
The Twins have won seven of nine, and the White Sox have lost seven of nine. That sounds terrible, but it just means our lead over them is down to 11 1⁄2 games....though only 11 in the loss column, if you want something to panic about.
Meanwhile, the Sox have brought in reinforcements. Jake Lamb was put on the IL with a quad problem, and Luis González was sent back to Charlotte. However, the demotion was no fault of his own, since he was slugging .500. Billy Hamilton, off the IL and reportedly only batting right-handed, where he’s been a much better hitter this year, will be one of the replacements. The other replacement will be Gavin Sheets, up from Charlotte, where he was crushing righties and had an .821 OPS overall, though he was much stronger in May than in June.
The mound battle will be between two 2020 Cy Young finalists not having their best seasons, Lucas Giolito and Kenta Maeda.
Maeda is 3-2, but he has a 4.85 ERA. He lost to the White Sox May 11, giving up three earned runs in five innings, all of them on a Yasmani Grandal homer. That was before Maeda went on the IL with a right abductor strain (and you thought an abductor was someone who kidnaps people). Since his return he’s had two starts, both fairly short, totaling nine and one-third innings and three runs.
Abreu is indeed back in the lineup, just two days after a very painful pitch to the knee on Sunday, and Sheets is in right field for his major league debut. With Sheets in right and Andrew Vaughn in left, both really first basemen, you might think this an ideal time to put Hamilton in center. But, that’s why you’re not a Hall of Famer Baseball Person.
You will have noticed that Leury García is at third. Yoan Moncada had suffered a slight ankle roll Friday, and maybe that has flared up, but the White Sox have not specified.
Giolito, who is 5-5 with a 3.80 ERA, faced the Twins May 19 and had his highest game score of the season (82). That game, he went eight innings, allowing just two hits and one run while striking out 11. Unsurprisingly, both hits, one of them a quadruple, were by Nelson Cruz. Maybe the HOFBP should just hold up four fingers every time the Sox-killer walks to the plate.
This afternoon, the White Sox made the following announcement regarding Luis Robert’s recovery:
Luis Robert has been medically cleared to increase his level of baseball activities at the Sox complex in AZ. This phase of the rehabilitation process is estimated to take approx. 4 weeks, after which Robert could be cleared for a rehabilitation assignment with a Sox affiliate.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 29, 2021
It is nice to see a positive development like this, and hopefully, Robert will continue to make a healthy recovery.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 Central, weather permitting, which weather.com has as a 69% chance. The opportunity for thunderstorms will rise to 57% by 8 pm, which could make for a long night. The broadcast suspects will be the same as usual (NBC Sports Chicago and WMVP 1000 AM).