Baseball

         VS

Records: White Sox 5-4 / Brewers 3-3

Start Times: All Games @ 7:10

TV: NBCSH

Bud Selig’s Ghost: Brew Crew Ball

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Game 1: Carlos Rodon (0-1, 12.27 ERA) vs. Brett Anderson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Game 2: Lucas Giolito (1-1, 6.52 ERA) vs Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.59 ERA)

Game 3: Adrian Houser (0-0, 1.80 ERA) vs Dallas Keuchel (2-0, 3.38 ERA)

Game 4: TBD vs. Gio Gonzalez (0-0, 7.36 ERA)

 

After this very successful weekend for the Pale Hose, our attention turns to the next series against the Brewers. Having had their weekend tilt against the Cardinals postponed due to some apparently casino-related Rona action, the Brewers not only sat around and didn’t do much, but they lost Lorenzo Cain as he decided the risk wasn’t worth it and opted out for the rest of the season. While he hadn’t been what he was during his heyday in KC, Cain was still a solid contributor who posted at least an .800 or greater OPS in 3 of the last 5 seasons. He was also a plus defender on the other side of the ball, having won a gold glove last year.

Replacing him in the OF will most likely be Ben Gamel, who is the definition of “a guy,” and he’ll be joined Old Friend Avisail Garcia and all-universe Miami cast off Christian Yelich. The Brewers infield has improved simply from bringing their #1 overall prospect Keston Hiura up late last season. Hiura managed an impressive .303/.368/.938 slash line last year with 19 home runs in only what amounts to half a season. The kid has pop in his bat for days and the patience to match, making him and Yelich a deadly combo at the top third of their lineup.

As far as their rotation goes there really aren’t many big names here, but they somehow always manage to be at least league average. Brandon Woodruff is the de facto ace of the group, who relies on his mid 90s fastball and a plus changeup that he uses for his punchout pitch. He came tearing out of the gate last year, going 11-3 and earning his first ever all star game nod before he hit the IL with an oblique issue in July that kept him on the shelf until just before the playoffs.

After Woodruff, the rest is just sort of there. Craig Counsell is the type of coach that’s not afraid to go to his bullpen and when it’s as good as the one he has you can’t really blame him. With the back end of Brent Suter, Corey Knebel and Josh Hader shutting down pretty much everything from the 7th inning on, teams have to make hay against the starters in the early innings while they can. If the Sox bats can get ahead of Woodruff and company, they stand a decent shot of being able to make Counsell go to his pen early and often hopefully wearing them down.

The Brewers with Cain were a pretty solid offensive team in 2019, ranking 10th overall in the league so the starters should probably have their A game especially with Hiura and Yelich at the front. Keeping the walks to a minimum is a must, as the Brewers like to swipe bags when they can (ranking 3rd overall in the NL last season). Grandal and McCann are going to have their hands full, so keeping as many Brewers off the basepaths will be appreciated.

As for the Sox, they announced the arrival of Nomar Mazara today off the RONA-IL, which hopefully should signal the end of the Nicky Delmonico Experiment for the time being. With Leury Garcia most likely out for at least game 1 of the series while he tends to a death in his family, Danny Mendick and his creepy mustache will most likely get another start at SS. Luis Robert has probably cemented his spot atop the lineup for the foreseeable future with his performance in KC over the weekend. His easy power is a sight to behold, as I’ve never seen someone seemingly put less effort into ponging baseballs off the outfield fence.

With the Sox now sitting in 2nd place division-wise this week should provide a good test for the young team. Carlos (Hard Karl) Rodon gets a shot at redemption, and I fully expect him to have the same result that Dylan Cease did yesterday. If he’s able to turn it around, suddenly the only question in the pitching rotation is Gio Gonzalez (who looked pretty pedestrian in his 3.2 innings on Saturday). If he’s unable to start giving the Sox at least 4-5 innings per start I could see Rick Hahn eyballing Dane Dunning for some starts.

This should be a fun series between two very solid teams. Bare minimun here for the Sox should be a 2-2 split, which the way the rotation lines up should be pretty achievable. 5 is better than 4, keep the party going. Let’s Go Sox.

 

White Sox "Elite" Image By @SavesTuesday

 

Baseball

One would think that after being one game from the team’s first World Series in 36 years, the Brewers would have wanted to build on that this season. The offseason came, and they sort of did with the signing of Yasmani Grandal, which was certainly an upgrade at catcher. Still, the team’s bugaboo–the rotation–remained untouched. It made some sense, as full seasons from Brandon Woodruff and a returning Jimmy Nelson would have improved the team’s weak link by themselves.

But those things didn’t happen. Both Woodruff and Nelson have been discovered to be made of leftover moving boxes and used engine oil, and rotate on and off the IL every couple of hours. Gio Gonzalez was once again scavenged from whatever forest discarded toys go to live, and the Brewers have made up the rest along the way. Jhoulys Chacin couldn’t rediscover whatever potion some witch in a hut gave him last year, and he’s hurt as well now.

But thanks to the Cardinals and Cubs also engaging in a season-long “Who can kick their own ass the hardest?” contest, the Brewers remain perched near the top of the division. Surely a move for a starter or two was in the offing. No, Zack Greinke was never a candidate, as the Brewers don’t have the system or the money to bring that aboard. But maybe they could find something with Aaron Sanchez? Or Marcus Stroman? Mike Leake would have probably been an improvement on what’s here. One or two other names would certainly be an alternative to openers and Housers and whatever other flotsam the Brewers have been sending out to the mound on a piece of driftwood.

And yet nothing. The Brewers love to claim small-market whenever possible, and yet they have one of the best attendance marks in the league and drew three million fans just last year. Certainly the profits are there, at least for a couple of months of someone.

All the Brewers did was bring in another converted-starter in Drew Pomeranz, who admittedly has looked good as a reliever. It’s just a doubling down on what went on last year, as the Brewers will essentially ask their starters not to strangle themselves and hope the hopped-up pen can take the rest.

It’s a gamble, because while Josh Hader is still striking out the world he’s been getable. Notice just yesterday his coughing up of a lead to Matt Chapman on his third day of use in a row, the first ever time he’s ever done that. He won’t be doing that again anytime soon. The Brewers also don’t have Knebel around this time, as they did last year, who was having nearly as dominant a season. Jeremy Jeffress is the perfect example of reliever roulette that a team plays when counting on anyone but the very top percentile of relievers. He can be anything on a given day.

And the Brewers might not have any future answers either. They’ll certainly have to try Woodruff and Nelson again next year, but Nelson will be 31 and Woodruff 27, so you might already know where they are. Zack Brown, their highest and closest pitching prospect, has been getting his skull turned into paste at AAA, and other pitching prospects are at least two seasons away. They very well may have to dip into the free agent market, and their fans will probably be whispering the word, “Gerrit” all winter.

Because the Brewers’ window isn’t all that big. Lorenzo Cain is already aging, and most of all Christian Yelich only has two years left on his deal before he makes the moon and maybe one of Jupiter’s as well. Are the Brewers going to pay that? Only Keston Hiura can be considered a young star, and maybe not the kind you can pivot a team around. We don’t know yet. Feels like there should have been more urgency around this deadline considering their standing.

But then again, maybe they feel like we do about the Cubs, and think if you’re knee-deep in this muck, you’re probably not that good anyway.