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Know Your Enemy: Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians are descending on Chicago.

Let’s start with the news of the day:

And my personal favorite news of the day:

I’ve seen Moncada play on the South Side for a few years so it’s nice to have him back. I’m very invested in Joe Kelly’s particular brand of attitude gracing us.

What happened last time?

The White Sox last saw the Guardians in Cleveland and it did not go well. After the first game of the series was postponed due to weather, the White Sox dropped three in a row and hit the skids for a while. They’re back on track now, having won three in a row, but let’s not get too comfortable.

The doubleheader saw the White Sox get swept and stomped on. Game 1 (11-1) was a painful outing for everyone and then the White Sox decided to show up to play in Game 2 (2-1). José Ramírez is a monster human who drove in five RBIs and hit a grand slam off multiple Gold Glove winner Dallas Keuchel while the entire White Sox infield had a case of the yips and Keuchel couldn’t find his control. Suffice it to say it was a terrible outing across the board. Keuchel allowed a career-high 10 runs and 10 hits before being mercifully pulled in the second inning with no outs. Notably, La Russa didn’t blame the fans for the team's woes and took the barest responsibility by saying he didn’t get the team ready to play.

The last game of the series saw the White Sox get swept out of Cleveland in a 6-3 loss which caused the fans to hit the doldrums and spiral a bit. Big “sky is falling” energy from the fanbase, yours truly included, when the team plays like a middling Double-A team.

Susan Sarandon wouldn’t be able save the White Sox coming out of four straight losses.

Good stuff since then

After the loss to the Guardians, the White Sox's losing streak topped seven before finally getting a win against the Royals. It was an up-and-down few days mixed with wins and losses, but the South Siders have popped back with a vengeance, going on a seven-game win streak while managing to not score more than four runs in any game. Sure, the Cubs stink, and no one knows what’s really going on with the Red Sox, but getting Mike Trout to strike out four times is a pretty big feat considering he never strikes out.

The Guardians have won six of their last 10 games and are posting a .232 average and 2.64 ERA in as many games. Their offense has bounced back from where it was in 2021, leading to their outscoring of opponents by four runs. So far, Cleveland is 7-9 on the road and 14-14 overall. They’re knocking at the door of being second in the AL Central so we’ll have to try and hang on.

Pitching Matchups: No Biebs

Monday will see Michael Kopech face off against Zach Plesac. Kopech is posting a 1.17 ERA and was disappointed in that, despite having dominated his outings as of late. He walks players 12% of the time but other than that, everything else is looking great compared to Plesac:

Statcast

You can’t please everyone, Michael. You’re not cake.

Tuesday will see Lucas Giolito vs. Cal Quantrill. Giolito is 0-1 at home with a 4.50 ERA (not the worst but still not the best). He’s 1-3 in his past four starts, most recently taking a victory against the Cubs in some very cold weather. Quantrill is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA on the road. He’s 2-3 in his last five starts, allowing only one home run to the Yankees on 4/23.

Wednesday will be closed out by TBD and Aaron Civale. Civale is 1-2 this season with a 9.45 ERA over 20 innings, allowing 28 hits, four home runs, and six walks while striking out 22.

Why do we hate the Guardians?