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Gamethread: Guardians at White Sox (opener)

It’s a busy day on the South Side! Can the White Sox get back above .500 for the first time in two months?

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Johnny Cueto looks to get his fifth win of the season, in the opener.
David Berding/Getty Images

Happy Saturday!

Call your sons, call your daughters. Call your friends, call your neighbors, the Chicago White Sox play two games today!

Sound familiar? Probably because it’s the anniversary of this today.

Today we have a jam-packed day at Guaranteed Rate Field for the Guardians and White Sox. Although last night wasn’t the outcome we wanted to start the second half of the season, today is another fresh start, and a chance to get better than .500 with two wins. In the first game of this doubleheader, we will have Triston McKenzie against Johnny Cueto.

McKenzie is a young righty who has been getting better and better each game this season. He has a 7-6 record with a 3.20 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 96 strikeouts in 101 ⅓ innings pitched. His last outing against the Detroit Tigers was magnificent, as he went eight shutout innings with only five hits and TWELVE strikeouts. This year, he relies on just three pitches. He uses his fastball most of the time, at 58.9%. He follows with a curveball (20.9%) and slider (20.1%). The White Sox did see McKenzie earlier this year in April, where he had four walks in just 4 ⅓ innings. Although his walk rate has gone down since, it is important that hitters practice their patience with McKenzie on the mound.

Cueto pitches for the South Siders this afternoon, as he looks for his fifth win of the season. He has a 2.80 ERA and 1.18 WHIP this year so far, and did brilliantly in his last outing against the Minnesota Twins, going six innings with seven hits and just one earned run. Hopefully he can have another high pitch count game, which is always important in doubleheaders. Cueto uses six pitches, including his sinker (28.2%), changeup (23.7%), slider (20.4%), cutter (15.9%), fastball (13.7%) and has thrown a curveball one time this year (0.1%, if you really wanted to know the frequency).

Looks like Josh Harrison will lead it off, followed by Yoán Moncada and Andrew Vaughn. José Abreu will follow and Yasmani Grandal will DH. Gavin Sheets is in right, Seby Zavala is behind the plate, and Leury García will get the start at shortstop. Adam Engel will end it off in center field.

Game time is at 12:10 p.m. CT. Tune into NBCSCHI with Jason and Steve to watch, and listen in at ESPN 1000. It’s a split doubleheader, so the nightcap is as regularly-scheduled, at 6:15 p.m. on Fox.