Mother Nature gave Cleveland the cold shoulder on Monday, with a mixture of rain and snow forcing the postponement of the Guardians’ scheduled series opener against the Chicago White Sox.
The American League Central rivals hope to fend off both Mother Nature as well as each other on Tuesday when they begin their now three-game series. Monday’s postponed game will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on July 12, presumably with snow no longer an option.
The Guardians’ 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.
Cleveland went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded six on base in Sunday’s 8-1 shellacking by San Francisco. The game-time temperature was 35 degrees.
“Cold weather is where the mentally tough prevail,” said Cleveland catcher Austin Hedges, who snapped an 0-for-21 streak with an RBI single in the seventh inning on Sunday.
“It’s a situation we’re going to be in over and over again. There are guys that are going to go out there and let the cold beat them, but we just have to go out and play our game of baseball.”
Although Franmil Reyes is mired in a 1-for-21 slump over his past five games, manager Terry Francona expressed confidence in his slugger.
“Franmil hasn’t really gotten going yet, but (opponents) haven’t been able to pitch around (Jose Ramirez) because so many men have been on base,” Francona said. “And Franmil will get it going. Hopefully those two guys (Ramirez and Myles Straw) are still on base, because that’s when it can really get interesting.”
Ramirez enters Tuesday’s contest carrying a 13-game hitting streak dating back to last season. He is batting .396 with three homers and 18 RBIs over that stretch.
Straw has reached base at least twice in seven of nine games this season. He also has worked a walk in six of his past seven contests.
The series-opening pitching matchup remains the same as initially scheduled, with Cleveland right-hander Shane Bieber (0-0, 2.70 ERA) squaring off against Chicago left-hander Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 5.40).
Bieber, 26, owns a 5-2 record with a 2.55 ERA in 12 career starts against the White Sox.
Keuchel, 34, is 4-2 lifetime versus the Guardians with a 3.53 ERA in 12 games, including 11 starts.
Pitching has been the key to Chicago’s fast start, even though Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Joe Kelly have been injured. Kelly is close to returning.
“He will add quality and depth to our bullpen,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “If you want to have a good year, you need a deep bullpen.”
Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu, who is in his ninth season, 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 lead the major leagues.
–Field Level Media