Friday, June 2, 2023
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MLB Preview: Cleveland Guardians (19-22) at Chicago White Sox (15-28)


The Guardians opened a 3-game series on the Southside of Chicago with an 8-3 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, the first meeting of the year between the two AL Central foes.

The contest was largely decided by the Sox’s 6-run rally in the 5th inning, which broke a scoreless tie and took place following a catcher’s interference call on a swing by Luis Robert Jr. that came with 2 outs and the bases empty; a barage of Chicago hits followed, including a quartet of singles mixed around a pair of homers by Gavin Sheets (3-run) and Jake Burger (2-run) off SHANE BIEBER, who subsequently did not escape the frame (4.2IP, 12H, 6R-5ER, 0BB, 4SO, 2HR, 88 pitches)…Robert Jr. added a solo shot in the 8th…veteran right-hander Lance Lynn held Cleveland’s offense mostly in-check across his 7.0 frames (7.0IP, 7H, 3R-1ER, 0BB, 7SO, 97 pitches)…the Guardians first run came in the 6th after MYLES STRAW connected for a lead-off triple and scored on STEVEN KWAN’s sac fly…Cleveland added 2 more in the 8th after Kwan doubled home Straw again and then scored on a double play…BRAYAN ROCCHIO made his MLB debut as a PH in the 6th and collected his first hit on an infield-single.

Coming off a 5-4 homestand, the Guardians are 0-1 to begin a 6-game trip thru Chicago-AL & New York-NL…Guardians have won 2 of 3 and 5 of last 9, though club has still dropped 16 of last 26 overall since starting year 9-6…Guardians (19-22) hold sole possession of 3rd place in AL Central, 4.0 games behind 1st-place Minnesota (24-19) and one half-game behind 2nd-place Detroit (19-21)…last season, club went 9-12 in April & 12-12 in May.

Cleveland is 13-3 when scoring 4-or-more runs and 6-19 when scoring 3-or-fewer runs…since the start of last season, the Guardians are 91-16 (.850) when scoring 4+ runs, the 5th-best win percentage in MLB.

Cleveland is 700-183 (.792) when scoring 4+ during the Terry Francona era (since 2013), the 2nd-best win percentage in MLB behind Los Angeles-NL (763-154, .832)…during that span, Cleveland is 164-510 (.243) when scoring 3-or-fewer runs, good for the 3rd-best winning percentage and 5th-best in MLB…despite this record, Cleveland has scored 4-or-fewer runs in all but one game during the month of May including an 11-game streak from April 30 to May 12, the 2nd-longest streak in MLB behind Pittsburgh’s current 14-game streak…marked the longest streak by a Guardians club since another 11-game stretch from July 20-July 31, 2010.

Los Angeles-NL .832 763-154
Cleveland .793 700-183
New York-AL .783 729-202
St. Louis .780 700-197
Houston .777 695-200

AMED ROSARIO opened up the season hitting .218 (19-for-87) with 3 doubles, 2 triples and one home run with a .589 OPS in April…since the calendar has turned to May, the shortstop is batting .333 (16-for-48) with 2 doubles, 2 triples and an .831 OPS…over his career, he tends to heat up in May, owning a .227 (90-for-397) average and .610 OPS in April compared to a .274 (116-for-424) clip and .731 OPS in May…he has produced two 3-hit game and one 4-hit game since May 9.

Over his 12 games in May, he has had success against breaking balls and fastballs…during April he was hitting .156 (5-for-32) with a 43% hard-hit rate and 89.3 mph average exit velocity in at-bats ending with breaking balls…over his 12 games in May, he has improved to a .353 (6-for-17) clip with a 64 % hard-hit rate and 97.4 mph average exit velocity in such at-bats…in at-bats ending with fastballs, he has also raised his average from .239 (11-for46) in the season’s opening month to .296 (8-for-27) during May… Rosario’s .353 (12-for-34) average with runners in scoring position is leading the club.

The Guardians are currently 1st in the AL and 4th in MLB with 23.3 swing and miss percentage, trailing the New York Mets (22.9%), the Arizona Diamondbacks (22.1%) and the Washington Nationals (21.6%)…Cleveland is the only team in MLB with 3 players ranking in the top-15 for lowest swing and miss percentage with STEVEN KWAN (3rd, 10.8%), MYLES STRAW (7th, 12.6%) and JOSÉ RAMÍREZ (13th, 15.2%)…only Tampa Bay has more than one player in the top 15.

Kwan is also second in MLB behind Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman with a 7.1% first pitch swing rate…since debuting last season, Kwan has an 8.5% first pitch swing rate, leading MLB…no other player has a mark below 12.2% in that span…as a club, the Guardians swing at the first pitch 27.1% of the time, 2nd-lowest in the AL and 5th-lowest in MLB.


2023 0-1 4.50 2 1 8.0 6 4 4 7 7
Career 0-1 4.50 2 1 8.0 6 4 4 7 7

2023 0-4 4.45 6 5 30.1 25 17 15 11 25
Career 0-4 4.45 6 5 30.1 25 17 15 11 25

The 25-year-old right-hander is making his sixth career start, second on the road, in the second contest of a 3-game set with the Chicago White Sox…is making this start on 6 days rest…became the 2nd Guardians player to make their debut this season in a start against the Yankees on April 12…Battenfield got the call up to Cleveland after AARON CIVALE went on the 15-day Injured List with a strained left oblique…he was originally selected in the 9th round (286th overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros…was traded to Tampa Bay during the 2020 season and later traded to Cleveland for Jordan Luplow and DJ Johnson on July 30, 2021.

Battenfield last started on the mound in a 5-0 defeat to the Detroit Tigers on May 10 at Progressive Field…he took the loss after allowing 5 runs (4 earned) and 7 hits over 6.0 innings with zero walks and 4 strikeouts…Battenfield faced trouble early after a pair of singles and a passed ball led to an RBI-groundout, giving Detroit a 1-0 lead…two batters later, Andy Ibáñez roped a double to give the Tigers a 2-0 advantage after one inning…after retiring the side in the 2nd, the Tigers hit a double, then tallied three runs with two outs in the 3rd from a Spencer Torkelson single and Akil Baddoo double…a throwing error on Baddoo’s double brought home the lone unearned run, putting Detroit in front by 5…Battenfield settled in for the rest of his start, retiring each of the last 9 batters he faced in order, tallying all 4 strikeouts during that stretch.

Half of Battenfield’s starts (3 of 6) have come against AL Central teams, as the right-hander holds an 0-3 record with a 3.32 ERA (7ER/19.0IP) and 12 hits allowed while tossing 16 strikeouts and just 3 walks…despite the 3 losses to his name, AL Central hitters are hitting just .176 against Battenfield…in 2 of his 3 starts against the division, Battenfield has thrown 6.0+ innings, allowed 3-orfewer hits, and thrown 5+ strikeouts…Battenfield’s .211 on-base percentage ranks 5th and .200 BABIP ranks 6th among pitchers with 2+ starts this season against the AL Central.

Among MLB hurlers with 2+ starts this May, Battenfield is the only starting pitcher to issue zero walks in his 13.0 innings of work…his .188 on-base percentage ranks 5th and his 6.23 baserunners/9 ranks 6th among pitchers with 2+ starts this month…Battenfield’s 0.69 WHIP is 9th among all 2+ starters in May…on April 12 vs. NYY (4.2IP, 4H, 2R/1ER, 0BB, 3SO), he became the first Cleveland pitcher to throw 4.2 innings, allow 2-or-fewer earned runs and give up zero walks in their MLB debut since Josh Tomlin (7.0IP, 3H, 1R/ER, 0BB, 2SO) on July 27, 2010 vs. NYY.


The Chicago White Sox have lost four of their last six games, six of 10 and 17 of 25 as they continue a nine-game, 10-day homestand tonight vs. the Cleveland Guardians.

RHP Mike Clevinger, who is winless over his last six starts since 4/14 vs. Baltimore, is scheduled to start for Chicago.

The White Sox won yesterday’s series opener vs. Cleveland after losing two of three vs. Houston to open the homestand, including a 4-3 setback in Sunday’s series-deciding contest.

Following tomorrow’s matinee vs. the Guardians, Chicago will conclude the homestand vs. Kansas City (5/19-21) before taking a seven-game trip to Cleveland (5/22-24) and Detroit (5/25-28).

The Sox went 3-4 on their last trip at Cincinnati (2-1) and Kansas City (1-3) from 5/5-11 and 3-4 on their last homestand vs. Tampa Bay (1-3) and Minnesota (2-1) from 4/27-5/4.

Luis Robert Jr. is looking to tie the club record by homering in five consecutive games (previously done seven times) … the last Sox to accomplish the feat was A.J. Pierzynski from 7/30-8/5/12.

White Sox starters own a 3.03 ERA (10 ER/29.2 IP), .208 (22-106) opponents average and 25 strikeouts over the last five games … they have allowed three earned runs or less four times.

The Sox are trying to win their third series of 2023, second at home and first over the Guardians since taking three of five from 9/23-26/21 … they are 20-29 vs. Cleveland since the start of 2020, including 10-13 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Mike Clevinger is 0-3 with a 5.23 ERA (18 ER/31.0 IP), 26 strikeouts and seven homers allowed over his last six starts.

Robert Jr. has hit safely in 13 of 14 games in May, going 20-49 (.408) with five doubles, seven home runs, 15 RBI, five walks, six multi-hit efforts and a 1.430 OPS.

The White Sox capitalized on a six-run fifth inning, including two home runs, to beat the Guardians, 8-3, in the series opener.

With two outs in the fifth, Luis Robert Jr. reached on catchers’ interference leading to six straight Sox hits, including a three-run home run by Gavin Sheets and two-run shot by Jake Burger.

Lance Lynn retired his first 11 batters faced, and allowed three runs (one earned) with seven strikeouts and zero walks over a season-high 7.0 IP for his first home win.

Keynan Midleton and Joe Kelly each worked 1.0 scoreless IP, and Sox pitchers did not issue a BB for the second straight game.

Luis Robert Jr. homered in the eighth to extend his homer streak to four games … six Sox recorded multi-hit efforts and all nine starters recorded at least one hit for the second time in 2023.

RHP Mike Clevinger is making his third career start vs. Cleveland … he made two starts last season with San Diego.

He went 42-22 with a 3.20 ERA (186 ER/523.1 IP) and 584 strikeouts 101 games (88 starts) with Cleveland from 2017-20.

Clevinger pitched in the postseason with the Guardians from 2016-18, and helped the club win the AL pennant in 2016.

Luis Robert Jr. leads the American League in home runs (12) and is tied with Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. for the MLB lead with nine homers of 400-plus feet.

He is averaging 407 feet and a 107.2 mph EV on his 12 homers in 2023 … his maximum homer values this season are 430 feet on 5/9/23 at Kansas City, and a 113.6 mph EV on 5/14 vs. Houston.

Robert Jr. has recorded 400-plus foot distances on 34 of his 48 career home runs … he leads the White Sox since the start of the 2020 season with homer averages of 412 feet and 107.6 mph exit velocity (minimum 10 home runs).

Luis Robert Jr. is hitting .408/.491/.939 (20-49) with fi ve doubles, seven homers (averaging 421 ft. and 109.2 mph EV), 15 RBI, 17 runs scored, fi ve walks and a 1.430 OPS in May (14 G).

He ranks among AL May leaders in on-base percentage (1st), slugging percentage (1st), OPS (1st), RBI (1st), runs scored (1st), total bases (1st, 46), home runs (1st), extra-base hits (1st, 12), average (2nd) and hits (T2nd).

The last White Sox to win American League Player of the Month honors was 1B José Abreu in August 2021.

Chicago pitchers rank second in MLB with 411 strikeouts, trailing Minnesota (424) … White Sox starters rank second in the major leagues in strikeouts (247), trailing the Twins (276).

Chicago and Cleveland meet 13 times in 2023, including seven games at Guaranteed Rate Field and six at Progressive Field.

The two clubs will play six times over nine days from 5/16-24.

The White Sox went 7-12 last season, going 3-6 at Guaranteed Rate Field and 4-6 at Progressive Field.

The Sox hit .223/.273/.357 with 19 homers, owned a 3.99 ERA (75 ER/169.0 IP) and were outscored by a 96-72 margin.

Chicago has lost three of four overall and fi ve of the last seven at home and is 18-21 overall since the start of 2021.

Chicago is 5-6 vs. the American League Central … it currently is in a stretch of 13 straight games vs. the division (1-0 record).

The White Sox went 37-39 vs. the AL Central in 2022 (18-19 at home; 19-20 on the road) after going 69-47 from 2020-21.

The Sox recorded three straight winning seasons vs. the division from 2019-21, their longest streak since 1997-2009.

The Sox currently are in a stretch of 16 straight games without a day off and are 8-7 during the current stretch of 29 games in 30 days from 5/2-31 (only off days in May are 5/1 and 5/15).

The 29-game stretch includes 15 games at home, 14 on the road and 20 vs. the American League Central … the White Sox play six of seven series from 5/5-28 vs. teams below .500 (at Cincinnati, at/vs. Kansas City, vs./at Cleveland and at Detroit).

Chicago has homered in 13 of its last 15 games since 4/30 (21 total homers), and hit 24 over its last 18 contests since 4/27.

The Sox have recorded eight multi-homer eff orts and been held without a home run just three times over the last 18 games.

The White Sox nine-game home run streak from 4/30-5/9 marked their longest since 7/30-8/10/21 (11 straight games).

The White Sox are batting .273/.339/.443 vs. left-handed pitching since the start of the 2019 season … during that span, the Sox lead MLB in average, rank second in on-base percentage, fourth in OPS (.782) and sixth in slugging percentage.

Tim Anderson owns a .350/.379/.555 (143-409) slash line vs. LHP since 2019, and Hanser Alberto is hitting .346/.366/.493 (172-497) … Anderson and Alberto rank 1-2 in MLB in average vs. left-handers since the start of 2019.

Luis Robert Jr. is 9-24 (.375) with three homers and seven RBI vs. LHP in 2023 and hitting .352/.415/.614 lifetime.

The White Sox rank seventh in the American League and 13th in MLB with a .263 (89-338) RISP average.

The Sox are hitting .237/.321/.456 with 63 RBI and a .777 OPS with RISP over the last 23 games.

All four of Andrew Vaughn’s home runs this season have tied the game or given Chicago the lead, including a game-ending, three-run shot in the ninth inning on 4/30 vs. Tampa Bay.

Vaughn leads the White Sox with 17 contests with a hit and RBI, and 34 games reaching base safely (hit, walk or HBP).

Vaughn is tied for fi fth (.429) and Andrew Benintendi ranks ninth (.409) among American League RISP average leaders.

The White Sox went 3-15 during Tim Anderson’s 10-day injured list stint (sprained left knee) from 4/11-5/1.

Since the start of the 2020, the Sox are 156-118 when Anderson is in the starting lineup and 68-85 when he does not start.

During that span, the Sox are 128-78 when Anderson records a hit, 74-32 when he records a multi-hit eff ort, 96-47 when he scores a run and 27-3 when he homers.

Anderson ranks second in MLB since the start of 2019 with 53 three-hit games (Sox are 37-16), trailing Freddie Freeman (60).

Anderson needs three homers to become the fourth player in White Sox history to record 100 homers and 100 stolen bases.


Is scheduled to make his ninth start of the season, fourth on the road and first vs. the Cleveland Guardians.

Is limiting opponents to a .203 (15-74) average with runners on base, .209 (9-43) average with RISP and .111 (2-18) average with RISP/two outs this season.

Has limited opponents to three or less runs in five of his first eight starts with two scoreless starts.

Has surrendered seven home runs across his last five starts after allowing no home runs over his first three.

Agreed to terms with Chicago on a one-year, $12-million deal in December (includes a mutual option for 2024).

Has appeared in just 38 games (37 starts) since the start of the 2020 season … missed the entire 2021 season to continue his recovery from his second Tommy John surgery … also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012.

Was originally drafted by the Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB Draft … was traded to Cleveland in August 2014 … made 101 major-league appearances (88 starts) with Cleveland from 2016-20 … was traded to San Diego in August 2020, appearing in just 27 games (16 starts) with Padres from 2020-22.

Did not factor in the decision on 5/11 at Kansas City after allowing three runs on three hits (one home run) with two walks and two strikeouts over 6.0 IP.

Departed the game in the seventh with the White Sox trailing, 3-1 … the Sox lost 4-3 on a Freddy Fermin walk-off bunt single in the ninth inning.

Owned a 60.9 first-strike percentage and 7.4 swinging-strike percentage (eight swing and misses) vs. 23 batters … threw 92 pitches (62 strikes) with the following pitch breakdown: 39 four-seam fastballs (92.9 mph avg; 95.1 mph max), 18 sliders (79.2 avg; 81.2 max), 18
changeups (85.7 avg; 88.0 max), 14 cutters (85.0 avg; 87.2 max) and three curveballs (73.8 avg, 74.5 max).

Is 3-4 with a 2.91 ERA (18 ER/55.2 IP) with 15 walks and 47 strikeouts across his last 10 starts at home.

Is 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA (5 ER/14.0 IP) in three starts this year at home with seven walks and 14 strikeouts … holds a career 2-2 record with a 3.16 ERA (13 ER/27.0 IP) in seven starts at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Owns a 25-12 record, 2.93 ERA (114 ER/349.2 IP), .221 (286-1294) opponents average and 383 strikeouts over 68 career appearances (60 starts) at home.

His 2.93 career ERA at home ranks 15th among active pitchers (min. 335.0 IP).

Is limiting opponents to a .220 (13-59) batting average across the first two innings this season, holding opponents to a .206 (13-63) average the first time through the lineup with 18 strikeouts.

Posted a 2.04 ERA (10 ER/44.0 IP) and .173 (27-156) opponents average across the first two innings in 2022, compared to a 5.76 ERA (45 ER/70.1 IP) and .267 (75-281) mark from the third-seventh.

Limited opponents to a .196 (37-189) average the first time through the lineup in 2022, compared to a .244 (43-176) mark the second time through the lineup and a .306 (22-72) average the third time through the order.

When Clevinger takes the mound, his team has gone 18-13 in his 31 appearances (30 starts) since 2022 … is averaging 5.15 runs of support per 9.0 IP in that span.

Across his last 15 outings, the Padres and White Sox have gone a combined 8-7 when he pitches.

Will make his third career start against the Cleveland Guardians and first at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA (5 ER/10.2 IP), .154 (6-39) opponent average, four walks and eight strikeouts against the Guardians.

Last faced Cleveland on 8/23/22 at home with San Diego, allowing two runs on 6.0 IP with two hits (two home runs), one walk and four strikeouts.

Pitched for Cleveland from 2016-20, going 42-22 with a 3.20 ERA (186 ER/523.1 IP), totaling 584 strikeouts compared to 204 walks.

Is 26-9 with a 2.37 ERA (82 ER/311.0 IP), 98 walks and 333 strikeouts in 57 career appearances (50 starts/33 quality) against the AL Central … his 2.37 ERA is the best against the AL Central among active pitchers (min. 200 IP).

Mikey Balhan Sports

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