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White Sox vs. Giants Gamethread

Wednesday blesses us with an afternoon ace-off as the Sox try to rally back from a tough loss Tuesday

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Before going into the traditional gloom-and-doom first paragraph I’m usually good for, let’s get the good news out of the way: Liam Hendriks is cancer-free!

Science is a miracle, and the sooner Liam and his good vibes return to the South Side, the better we’ll all be for it.

Anyhow, back to the dark clouds — there are plenty of them in the sky above Guaranteed Rate Field at this juncture. Hey folks, we almost made it a week this time, but injuries are here, back, and better than ever!

Team “they just need to stay healthy” has taken their first significant blow of the season — as have the Chicago White Sox, as the team announced this morning that Eloy Jiménez is likely to miss several weeks with a hamstring strain suffered during Tuesday’s home opener.

At the very least there’s a pretty compelling argument that Burger shouldn’t have even had to wait this long to join the big club; While Hanser Alberto’s torrid training camp was nice, I still remain pretty unconvinced there’s anything he does better than Burger beyond play second base and pitch when down 10 runs. If Pedro Grifol is inclined to learn from his predecessors and selectively pick the lefty-mashing Burger’s matchup with right-handers and also simply refuse to allow Gavin Sheets to leave the dugout with a lefty on the hill, the team could still salvage solidly above-average slugging from the DH slot, even with Jiménez on the shelf.

We’ll have to wait a little while to find out, because Sheets is the only one of the pair currently in the lineup against San Francisco’s right-handed sinkerballing ace Logan Webb, who took an Opening Day loss to the Yankees despite punching out a career-high 12 hitters over six innings in the Bronx. Sheets has a swing tailor-made for taking right-handed sinkers at the knees and scooping them out into the right field bleachers, but most right-handed sinkers also don’t look like Logan Webb’s:

Save Eloy’s unfortunate absence, however, Grifol’s lineup looks much the same as the first five of the season. Yoán Moncada’s scorcher start to the season earned him a bump to the cleanup, setting the stage for a gauntlet of lefties that isn’t guaranteed to give Webb fits, but just might:

To even up the series at one, the Sox turn to Dylan Cease, who’s coming off an Opening Day masterpiece of his own, having set Sox records for a season-opener by punching out ten Astros without walking a soul over 6 13 tense innings. Cease will look to keep filling up the zone with his slider and curveball (which, notably, he used more than a quarter of the time last week) at the same pace he did against Houston, when he threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of the first 19 hitters he faced. I’ve probably watched more of Cease since his debut than any other White Sox pitcher, and if you could have sat next to me during his rough introduction to the big leagues on a Wednesday afternoon against Detroit in July 2019 and told me he’d be that kind of strike machine someday? I would have laughed you back to the 500 level.

If he can maintain his newfound pace and ability to avoid free passes, he won’t have a ton of difficulty moving through a mediocre San Francisco lineup that struggled tremendously last season and probably won’t have whatever tell on Cease they did on Michael Kopech on Monday. Manager Gape Kapler lines them up below:

First pitch is at 1:10 PM CT, weather permitting; Join Jason Bennetti and Steve Stone for the TV broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago, or Len Kasper and Darrin Jackson on WMVP AM 1000, as always.