Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona is aware of what is on deck for his team after Mother Nature provided an unexpected break in its schedule.
After inclement weather kept the Guardians and visiting Chicago White Sox off the field on Monday and Tuesday, the American League Central rivals should encounter better playing conditions for their doubleheader on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be hard. We’re going to have 27 innings potentially in 27 hours, which isn’t perfect,” Francona said Tuesday. “But if you’re supposed to play, you play. If you’re not, you don’t. I think everybody kind of came to the same conclusion.”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa agreed that it was a smart decision to not play on Tuesday.
“And the field was, in places you can tell, the grass is a little insecure and as it gets colder with the wind here, it’s going to get slippery as hell, it’s going to be a little dangerous,” La Russa told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Terry and I both agreed, it’s not smart and the umpire agreed.”
While Monday’s postponed game will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on July 12, Tuesday’s tilt brought about a traditional twin-bill on Wednesday.
Cleveland right-hander Shane Bieber (0-0, 2.70 ERA) will square off in the opener against Chicago left-hander Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 5.40) in a battle of former AL Cy Young Award winners. Right-handers Triston McKenzie (0-1, 2.57) of the Guardians and Jimmy Lambert (0-1, 6.00) of the White Sox will tangle in the nightcap.
Bieber, 26, has allowed just a pair of hits in each of two his outings this season, however three walks led to an elevated pitch count in a no-decision at Cincinnati last week.
He owns a 5-2 record with a 2.55 ERA in 12 career starts against the White Sox.
Keuchel, 34, allowed three runs on six hits in five innings to pick up the win in Chicago’s 6-4 victory over Seattle last Wednesday. He is 4-2 lifetime versus the Guardians with a 3.53 ERA in 12 games (11 starts).
Cleveland’s bats have cooled down considerably after erupting for 44 runs during a four-game winning streak. The team responded with just four runs during their three-game sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants.
The Guardians went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded six on base in Sunday’s 8-1 shellacking by San Francisco.
McKenzie, 24, scattered three hits and struck out six over four scoreless innings in a no-decision versus the Reds last Wednesday. He is 0-2 with a 10.07 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) versus the White Sox.
Lambert, 27, will look to atone after surrendering two runs on as many hits in three innings of a 5-1 setback against the Mariners. He is 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA in three career appearances (two starts) against the Guardians.
As for the offensive side of things, Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu ranks among the club’s all-time leaders in home runs (third with 229), slugging percentage (sixth with .514) and extra-base hits (fifth with 510). He hit a two-run homer in Saturday’s 3-2 win against Tampa Bay.
Abreu is one of three players in White Sox history to record five or more 30-homer/100-RBI seasons, joining Hall of Fame member Frank Thomas (eight) and Paul Konerko (five). His 304 RBIs since the start of the 2019 season leads the major leagues.
–Field Level Media