Ah Cleveland, the CLE, the 216, The LAND, cleve as in clif in the old English, what isn’t there to love? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Old Stone Church? Collision Bend? The Mistake by the Lake? The once fetid banks of the mighty Cuyahoga? Oh yeah!!
Your Chicago White Sox venture the shores of Lake Erie to take on those Guardians of Cleveland. A team we know all too well, and loathe just the same. If you are asking yourself, didn't we just do this? Didn’t we just face these guys? Didn’t José Ramírez just murder us? Didn’t hose loathsome Naylors just annoy us? Yep.
Even baseball’s course-correcting new schedule must allow for many games to be played against your own division to determine a victor at season’s end. Or in the AL Central’s case, too many games against fellow bad and hated teams just to see who can suck less, back into the division crown, and subsequently face obliteration in the Wild Card round. For you see, in the AL Central, every team is bad at the game of baseball, yet we watch anyway, in full recognition of such facts.
What Have the Guardians Been Up To?
Speaking of bad baseball, Cleveland returns home to Progressive Field having been swept in a three-game series at the hands of the Astros in Houston earlier in the week. A sweep that also featured a 93-pitch, one-walk, seven-strikeout no-hitter by one Framber Valdez on Tuesday:
FRAMBER VALDEZ HAS THROWN A NO-HITTER! pic.twitter.com/WpwJzKjHfW— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 2, 2023
So other than Cleveland being no-hit, swept, outscored, outpitched, and outplayed, not much has changed in a week’s time. They are still bad, but better than the Pale Hose. Which isn’t saying much, as we are painfully aware.
Cleveland’s pitching only allowed 12 runs over the three-game set, Monday’s 7-3 loss being the highest-scoring affair of the series. Not too bad against the reigning World Series Champions. Cleveland’s offense, however, managed only five runs all series. Cleveland is in the bottom 10 in total runs scored, RBIs, walks, OBP, SLG, OPS, and total bases. It is also dead last in home runs. Its offense is bad. Period. Sadly, the White Sox also rank in the bottom 10 in many of these same categories. Needless to say, both of these offenses are bad. Saying they struggle to score runs is being kind.
It should come as no surprise, then, that both teams purged their rosters of tradable talent before Tuesday’s trade deadline. The Sox sent out Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Kendall Graveman, Jake Burger and Keynan Middleton, while the Guardians traded away Aaron Civale, Amed Rosario and Josh Bell. Two very different-looking rosters will face off this weekend than the teams that split a four game set in Chicago last week. They are same bad teams, just with a few different names freshly stitched to the backs of their jerseys.
What Are the Pitching Matchups? How Do We Match Up?
If names like Jesse Scholtens, Touki Toussaint, Declan Cronin, Jimmy Lambert, Edgar Navarro, Sammy Peralta, Bryan Shaw, or Tanner Banks don’t excite you, find the nearest defibrillator, because this is what passes for a pitching staff on the South Side these dog days of post-trade deadline August, in the middle of a so-called contention window. Or perhaps more aptly described as the decrepit remains of an empty window sill shattered by sheer ineptitude. Either way, you get the idea. After all, the games will be played, and someone has to eat innings, even if there is hardly enough talent in either organization to fill out a roster.
Here’s the pitching matchups for this series:
Friday, August 4
[redacted] vs Logan Allen
Saturday, August 5
Michael Kopech vs TBA: Kopech pitched five innings of four-hit ball in a 5-0 loss last Sunday afternoon. He surrendered two home runs, three earned runs, walked five, and only struck out two. His 2023 struggles continue, while he looks less and less like a viable major league starter with every outing.
Sunday, August 6
TBA vs TBA: Sunday’s game is curiously on Peacock, so at least the 11 a.m. game will be over early and shouldn’t ruin your entire afternoon. If you are even able to tune in, that is. Not that you should want to. We don’t even know what the pitching matchup is. And honestly, do they even matter at this point? Bad vs. Bad leads to watching more bad baseball. We highly suggest you find something better to do with your Sunday afternoon.
The White Sox somehow are 6-4 against the Guardians on the season, and are 1,121-1,115 all time vs this Cleveland franchise, so they have that going for them, at least. Those records will change of course, not that they will have any bearing over anything this season as both of these teams are going nowhere. But, you know, bragging rights, I guess.