Instead of a beautiful scene surrounded by maize and mazes, it’s back to the grimness of the GuRF surrounded by parking lots and the Dan Ryan. Worse for the White Sox, they’ll face no more a No. 10 or 12 starter from the injury- and COVID-depleted Yankees rotation, but instead a pitcher intended to be there, albeit not at the top of the card.
Still, it’s a beautiful night for baseball, and, with cool temps and what wind there is blowing in, probably less of a dingerthon than Thursday night’s game — and more of a chance to see people run around the bases.
Trying to stop the running by the Yankees will be Dylan Cease. Cease, who mows down bad teams (8-3, 3.48 ERA vs. teams under .500) but struggles against good ones (1-3, 6.00 ERA vs. team at .500 or better), may be in the first of a three-game postseason audition, because the White Sox will follow the Yankees with series against the A’s, Rays and Jays — pleasant rhyming, but not necessarily pleasant offenses to face. How he comes through the two weeks could have an impact on any contest with Dallas Keuchel for the No. 4 post-season slot, but only the HOFBP knows for sure.
Cease faced the Yankees in New York in May and fared not well, lasting only 4 1⁄3 inning and giving up five hits, four walks, and five earned runs. But, hey — that was May, so long ago it was when we thought COVID would soon be over.
On the mound for the Yankees will be 6´6´´ (or 6´5´´ — even the best scientists can’t agree) righty Jameson Taillon, 7-4 with a 3.82 ERA. Taillon had a rough start to the year, but was July’s AL Pitcher of the Month and hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a game since June. The one exception to his lousy early-season form was his game against the White Sox, when he tossed five innings of two-hit shutout ball — but, hey, that was May, so long ago we thought Medina Spirit had won the Kentucky Derby.
Taillon throws his mid-90s four-seamer just more than half the time, with a slider and curve about equal usage at 20%, though he has been doing a little more sinker action lately. He has modest platoon splits, striking out many more righties, while they have a higher average against him, but lower OPS. The HOFBP is going for the OPS and Ks in laying out a lefty-heavy lineup.
Cease will be facing the same Yankees lineup that took to the Field of Dreams on Thursday.
Gotta love the sidebar on the Yankee lineup posting - “TV - YES.” Sure, that’s just the name of their privately-owned, extra-few-billions-in-income network, but it still looks like they’re really excited to be on the tube. Even if with a whole lot fewer viewers than Thursday, which drew the largest regular-season audience in 16 years (corn pays, as the folks behind Hee Haw learned long ago).
Speaking of the tube, ours will be the usual, as will the transistor, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 p.m. Central. It’ll be hard to beat the excitement of the first game of the series, but FiveThirtyEight, which breaks down predictions to the precise percentile, calls this one a 50-50 shot, so maybe it will come close.