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Know Your Enemy: Cleveland Guardians

Yeah, these guys again

MLB: JUL 10 Guardians at Royals Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to

Go figure, the first bit of momentum the White Sox have had, practically since their hot first week of the season, gets doused the cold water of the All-Star break.

Still and all, the White Sox are the (cooled-off) hottest team in this three-horse race, winning seven of their last 10, getting back to .500 (so, just erase those first 92 games off the docket, it’s a 70-game season now!) and drooling over a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way.

However, the White Sox still sit in third place, one game behind Cleveland. And, if you had the courage to read a series-by-series look at the second half by one of SSS’s clowniest clowns, you’ll know that these head-to-head games are crucial in case any teams are tied after 162; right now the White Sox trail season series with both Minny and Cleveland, no bueno.

Let’s take a peek back at PECOTA’s playoff chances for the top three:

Minnesota Twins 55.7% playoff likelihood (44.4% division, 11.3% wild card)
Chicago White Sox 48.2% playoff likelihood (33.4% division, 14.8% wild card)
Cleveland Guardians 32.2% playoff likelihood (21.7% division, 10.6% wild card)

Old Friends

Cleveland features Alex Call (dealt for the three-day-old, cold-hot dog stand that was Yonder Alonso) and Konnor Pilkington (swapped for the helmet nachos of sewage that was César Hernández), but that’s it. You could say those players will not haunt us for the giveaway trades they were, but being lower negative-WAR players still will make these trade Ls for Rick Hahn.

Pitching Matchups

It’s another four games in three days, with a doubleheader on Saturday.

Friday night kicks things off with Lucas Giolito vs. Somebody. Cagey, Cle. Is Aaron Civale coming off of the IL? Dunno. What we do know is that Gio has gotten his groove back, and this matchup (“Opening Day II: Let’s Play Like Fresh Prince in That Empty Room”) is advantage: White Sox.

Saturday’s opener is the makeup game from May 11 and had no pitching matchups.

The nightcap likewise has no pitching matchups, and I recognize that this is a silly endeavor. Safe to assume Lance Lynn and Johnny Cueto are going, in some order, on Saturday? Cueto is our 2021 Lance Lynn, while so far Lance Lynn is our 2021 Dallas Keuchel. Gotta find all the rest we can for Michael Kopech, people.

It looks like the finale on Sunday is shaping up as Dylan Cease vs. Shane Bieber? That’ll be a dandy.

The White Sox have a nice, calm week ahead, with off-days Monday and Thursday sandwiched around a breezy, two-game jaunt to Denver. Plenty of rest coming, fellas. And after Cleveland, the White Sox don’t play another real team until mid-August. It’s the easiest stretch of the season. Just take three of four and leapfrog the Guardians, and the Twins go down next.

DraftKings Corner

Hey friends, do you like sports? Do you also like gambling? Well, SBNation and South Side Sox have just the link for you. Stop by and visit the DraftKings Sportsbook and you can learn that before the opening game of the series, the White Sox are -150 on the moneyline and and -1.5/+130 on the run line ... I don’t know what those things mean, but I bet if you click the link you do! Or will!