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Chasing expectations, White Sox return to face Guardians

Jul 13, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) celebrates his RBI double beside Cleveland Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario (1) in the sixth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

A trendy World Series pick entering 2022, the Chicago White Sox begin the second half of the season where they started the season, with the same number in the win and loss columns.

While that ostensibly is disappointing for the defending American League Central Division champions, a tear of seven wins in 10 games coming into the All-Star break leaves the White Sox optimistic.

Chicago trails the second-place Cleveland Guardians by one game as the teams begin a four-game series at Cleveland on Friday. The White Sox sit three games back of division-leading Minnesota.

“We all know the kind of team that we have and the kind of team that we are,” White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu said through an interpreter. “It’s not easy when things aren’t going your way or when injuries are affecting you. But everybody pushed and gave their best effort, and we got to this point. It wasn’t easy.

“The most important thing when you are passing through bad patches is to stay united, and we did. We’re united.”

Chicago split a four-game series at Cleveland last week after losing four of the first five meetings between the clubs this season.

Right-hander Lucas Giolito (6-5, 4.69 ERA) is set to start for the White Sox and will try to build off a solid outing against the Guardians in his final start of the first half. On July 13, he scattered five hits and gave up an unearned run in 6 1/3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts to boost Chicago to a 2-1 victory.

That augmented Giolito’s May 10 win against Cleveland, when he contributed seven innings of one-run, six-hit ball. In his career against Cleveland, he is 5-3 with a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts, with 81 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings.

After skidding to eight losses in 10 games to start July, Cleveland won five of seven, ending the first half with three-consecutive victories over the visiting Detroit Tigers. The Guardians have been idle since Saturday, after Sunday’s game against Detroit was postponed due to rain.

Cleveland wouldn’t mind a carbon copy of its first-half finale to start the second half of the season.

All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez belted two home runs and the Guardians received six scoreless innings from Cal Quantrill, who is slated to start against the White Sox.

Ramirez, who has 19 home runs to go with an AL-best 75 RBIs, also made dazzling plays in the field to highlight the Guardians’ 10-0 victory.

“We’re spoiled as a team,” Quantrill said. “Jose continues to work every day at being a good defender. And again, if he’s willing to do it, then I think everyone’s willing to do it. He made a couple of really good plays. Yeah, I think it’s probably the most underappreciated part of his game, but that’s only because he’s doing everything else so well.”

Quantrill (6-5, 3.75) is 1-1 with a 5.84 ERA in two starts against the White Sox this season, yielding two home runs in 12 1/3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 2.76 ERA in nine games (five starts) versus Chicago in his career.

–Field Level Media