If you figured the White Sox would take one game from the Blue Jays in Toronto, you no doubt would have picked last night, when our best starting pitcher to date was facing a soft-tossing lefty with negative WAR. Alas, Michael Kopech had a bad night and Hyun Jin Ryu had an OK one, at least until he had to leave the game with forearm tightness, and the Sox fell to two games worse than .500.
So it’s up to Johnny Cueto to try to prevent the sweep, facing Alek Manoah, who sports an ERA of 1.77. But there’s a reason the folks at Five Thirty Eight call baseball the most difficult to predict of all the things they cover, sports and otherwise. Heck, the Pirates just swept the Dodgers — in LA, no less — so there’s no reason the Sox can’t pull the upset today. Plus, Cueto was excellent in his first two starts before one we won’t mention.
Manoah will be facing a White Sox lineup where the HOFBP has decided to place his hottest available hitter in the seventh spot. Bet Five Thirty Eight wouldn’t have predicted that.
No one in the lineup has faced Manoah more than six times, with Yoán Moncada faring best at 3-for-6.
With Andrew Vaughn in left and Gavin Sheets in right, Luis Robert should have plenty of opportunity to prove he’s over any COVID effects by racing from foul line to foul line to make catches.
Cueto will take on a Blue Jays lineup that has a partial getaway-day look, as the Jays are kind enough to sit Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and George Springer.
Only Matt Chapman and Raimel Tapia have faced Cueto, and neither has fared well.
First pitch is scheduled for 2:07 p.m. Central, since Canadians apparently divide their hours into 8.57 segments. Gordon Beckham will be back in the TV booth with Jason, so you may want to cover the ears of impressionable youngsters when he starts to mislead them with batting advice.
Oh, yeah, Jimmy Lambert has been called up from Charlotte yet again. That should put the Sox over the top.