Know Your Enemy: Cleveland Naps, Round 2
Your Enemy team
That first series against Cleveland ... woof. The Sox managed to pull out a win in the last game, 4-0, in a faceoff between Zach Plesac and Lucas Giolito. Giolito’s changeup was hitting all the right places and Plesac was able to thoroughly shut out Sox hitters through eight, ending with a 93 game score that is by far the strongest game thrown against Chicago this season. After that, the Sox went to trample on the Royals and split the series with the Brewers. Now the AL Central lazy susan lands again on Cleveland.
After taking two of three from the White Sox, the Naps went 1-4 against the Twins and 3-1 against Cincinnati. Cincinnati, who was not off to a great start, is continuing their not-great season.
Unfortunately, last night's 13-0 win against the Reds gives Cleveland momentum going in to this weekend vs. the Sox, just as the White Sox played perhaps their worst game of the season in losing to Milwaukee.
As a side note, Cincinnati and Cleveland have a really boring Ohio rivalry, involving some kind of chili and a really poor sense of NBA history.
And then the Naps Twitter made a really dumb poop joke:
Now, now, you’re both small-market teams in a sad state with too much electoral power. No need to fight.
I do love any time Trevor Bauer gets made fun of, though:
Also big dumb asshole Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger almost faced each other and pretended that they could talk shit because apparently they're friends ... but then it rained and the game was called.
Terry Francona has been out the last few games with gastrointestinal issues, so Sandy Alomar Jr. has been filling in as manager. No time table yet on Francona's return.
Your Enemy’s current record
I suspect the AL Central race to second place to get to the playoffs is going to be between Cleveland and the Sox. The Twins are going to run away with first place again, unless something catastrophic happens in Minnesota (and considering how 2020 is going, it’s possible). But don't worry, y’all — the Twins will lose in the playoffs like always.
Friday is going to be Aaron Civale vs. Dylan Cease. Civale has nine strikeouts in his two starts this season, but a lack of runs cost him the win in their 3-1 loss to the Twins on Sunday (a pain Sox fans know well). Cease’s last outing against the Naps was rough, to say the least. A strong outing against the Royals gave Cease his confidence back, striking out four, walking one, and allowing two earned runs
Saturday’s matchup is going to see Plesac against that great White Sox hurler, TBD. Plesac’s last outing against the Reds had him giving up three runs in seven innings, struggling with his fastball velocity.
Sunday is a matchup of the aces with Shane “Not Justin” Bieber vs. Lucas Giolito. Giolito continues to prove that Opening Day was a big fluke. The righthander only gave up a two-run homer to Ben Gamel in his recent start against the Brewers, but that was it. Beiber has given up two earned runs in his three games this season and has been going later into games, so the Sox are going to have to jump early and fight any mistakes he makes, which won’t be many.
Keys to the series
Cleveland's team batting average is sitting as a solid dead in the American League, so the Sox are going to have to use their bats to get ahead of the Cleveland bullpen. Cleveland is leading AL teams in ERA, so this is going to be tough to do.
Once the offense is gets going, the Sox really need to start figuring out how to capitalize with runners on base. They're making some progress in that department, but they can't keep relying only on home runs to score.
It wouldn't hurt if Eloy stopped being so damn unaware of his surroundings in left field. Then fans wouldn't be forced to make videos of him, set to the Benny Hill them ("Yakety Sax"):