The White Sox will open a six-game homestand tonight with the three most important games of the season against the Guardians. After Cleveland just took four out of five against Minnesota, they will seek to end the Sox’ season with a few wins this week. With the Sox four games back in the division, it is truly do-or-die time for the South Siders.
The Guardians need only one win to secure the tiebreaker against the White Sox in the case of a tie to end the season in the AL Central. So, at the end of the day, the White Sox need to take three from the Guardians this week – otherwise, they will need to win the division outright with a continually shrinking number of games to play.
Dylan Cease will toe the rubber in game one tonight against Cleveland. The Sox will send their best guy out there to look for a huge series-opening win. Cease has had a stellar year and he looks to continue it tonight against Cleveland. For Cleveland, they will send Aaron Civale to the mound. Lance Lynn and Triston McKenzie will face off on Wednesday, and on Thursday, it will be Johnny Cueto against Shane Bieber. In looking at the matchups, it’s clear that both teams set their rotations to feature their best three starters for these games.
Players to Watch
Jimenez has been crushing the baseball in the second half of the season, and he will need to have a big series if the Sox are going to take three games from the Guardians. Jimenez is slashing .355/.427/.601 with 12 HR and 36 RBI in the second half of the season, and we are witnessing one of the best second halves by a Sox hitter in the last fifteen seasons.
If the White Sox are able to sweep the Guardians, it is likely Jimenez was a key to their success.
With Jose Abreu’s future on the South Side still in question, this is a big time for the 35-year-old slugger to come up big once again. Abreu dominates the AL Central, and in 2022 against the Cleveland Guardians, he is slashing .317/.359/.467 with 7 HR and 26 RBI. He is also one of few White Sox players who has had success against McKenzie and Bieber, both this season and in his career.
Abreu has been a workhorse for the Sox, and now is a big time for the former MVP to step up once again. Pito is coming off a series against the Tigers where he doubled home a pair to tie up a game late.
It is a tough task, but the Sox pitching staff needs to keep Jose Ramirez at bay. On the season, he is hitting .279 with 28 HR and 113 RBI – though, against the White Sox, he has only hit .220 with 2 HR and 11 RBI. There are very few power threats in the Cleveland lineup, so keeping one of the few they have off base and unable to drive in runs will be critical for the White Sox.
Rookie Steven Kwan has been a particularly difficult out for most teams this season, but especially the White Sox. In 16 games, Kwan is hitting .328/.389/.453 against the White Sox this year, which accounts for his fourth-highest OPS against any MLB team. Keeping Kwan off the basepaths at the top of the lineup is a great way to prevent Jose Ramirez from hitting in a situation where he can drive in multiple runs.
Where to Watch
Here is when and how you will be able to watch each of the games this week:
- Tuesday, September 20: 7:10 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Wednesday, September 21: 7:10 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Thursday, September 22: 7:10 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago
Follow us @SoxOn35th for more updates throughout the season!
Featured Image: Brian Sevald-USA TODAY Sports