Another week off of the schedule, another week for the purportedly easy upcoming schedule being ... not so.
The White Sox keep wheezing along, now at 35-39, 5 1⁄2 games behind the Twins and 4 1⁄2 away from the second-place Guardians in the AL Central. Of the three teams mentioned, only one has a (whoppingly) negative run differential. The truth is, with two legit rivals for the ALC crown, it is going to be a arduous challenge crawling toward first. There are 30 games left against Minny and Cleveland combined, so there is still time to take care of business, and at nearly the halfway point of the season there is still time to make a run. But every day that slips off of the calendar makes the notion of controlling their own destiny more challenging for the White Sox.
Giants fans are angry, too, but more because they have landed in a mega-division with Los Angeles and San Diego, the two teams the San Franciscans are looking up at. The Giants are 40-34, which would put them a half-game out of the ALC lead, and yet would be outside of the expanded playoffs if the season ended today. San Francisco is four games behind second-place San Diego and 6 1⁄2 back of the Dodgers. Going strictly by a run differential projection, the Giants would squeak ahead of Atlanta for the final playoff spot in 2022, but as White Sox fans have learned, playoff projections don’t really mean squat.
There are three ex-Sox Giants of consequence. Let’s move up the Scoville chart and delay the pain. San Francisco claimed Yermín Mercedes off of waivers and he’s seen brief action with the big club: 1-for-4 with two Ks. Now back at Triple-A Sacramento, he’s doing almost exactly the same. Luis González was claimed off of waivers last year (noticing a trend here) and has been a fairly key piece to the Giants in right field: .302/.361/.447 for an .808 OPS and 126 OPS+. Maybe we could have used him this year. He was the NL’s Rookie of the Month in May.
And, finally, the QO that never happened, Carlos Rodón. Contrary to the whispers from Rick Hahn apologists that our GM would only let Rodón go — for free — elsewhere if there was “something in the medicals,” Los has been SF’s best pitcher, clocking in with 2.9 WAR in 15 starts and 86 innings. He’ll probably break down any minute, right? Well, for the paltry sum of $18.4 million the White Sox could be enjoying 2.9 WAR in 86 innings. Or, a free sandwich pick at the end of the second round of the coming draft. But what do I know, I didn’t go to law school.
Friday, it’s Lance Lynn vs. Alex Cobb. Both have sucked this year, but the good news is Lynn has sucked in a smaller sample size and is coming off of an almost-good, let’s blame Tony’s slow hook outing that could be a turning point for Lance’s delayed start to the season. Or I’m just talking myself into that.
Saturday’s 3:05 start game is Dylan Cease vs. Logan Webb, and it should be a humdinger. Advantage Cease, with 81 Ks and a 2.56 ERA, but Webb is no cupcake, running out a 3.20 ERA.
Sunday repeats a 3:05 start, ending the road trip and pitting Lucas “Uh-Oh” Giolito (5.19 ERA) against Anthony (Uh-Uh-Oh) DeSclafani (9.95 ERA). This will not be a quick getaway game, because try as they may to speed/give away at-bats, both pitchers have slumped badly enough in 2022 it will be hard to avoid solid contact and heavy pen usage. Let’s see if AJ Pollock gets the start on Sunday, as he has seen DeSclafani very well in his career.
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