Chicago at Toronto, May 31-June 2

Tuesday, May 31 2022 @ 01:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

"I spent 90% of the money I ever made on booze, women, and drugs. The rest of it I wasted."
---- Ronnie Hawkins

The Jays kick off a six-game homestand that will see them playing the Class of the AL Central. First up are the second-place White Sox, who have been spinning their wheels a bit this season.

The Pallid Hose got off to a pretty decent start (6-2) and then lost eight in a row. They appeared to right themselves at the beginning of May with a six-game winning streak - on the road, for the most part - but since then they've developed an alarming habit of giving up runs in bunches. Enormous bunches. 10 runs here, 12 runs there, 15 runs there, 16 runs there, another 16 runs over there. That all happened in the last three weeks. The 2021 White Sox had the best pitching in the American League. They were the only AL team to hold the opposition to less than 4 runs per game. This time around, only the Royals get scored upon more often.

There's a pretty obvious reason for this. The Sox two best pitchers last season were Carlos Rodon and Lance Lynn, and they've combined to throw 0 innings for the Pasty Hose this season. Rodon now works for the San Francisco Giants and Lynntore a tendon in his knee and needed surgery in early April. He's set to make his first rehab start this weekend. Meanwhile Dallas Keuchel, who had been the weakest link a year ago, pitched badly enough to get Designated For Assignment. Dylan Cease and Lucas Giolito are the only holdovers from last year's rotation and they've both been fine. They just need some help. Which may be arriving. Michael Kopech, a mainstay of last year's bullpen, has moved very smoothly into the rotation. Jonny Cueto, signed to a minor league deal in early April, spent the first month shaking off the rust down in AAA - he has since come up to the big team and made three starts. Holy resurrection, Batman - he hasn't been this effective since 2016. (Ah, but will it last? We can't help but wonder.) And Lynn will be back. The bullpen, however, hasn't been nearly as good either. Kopech is in the rotation, Garrett Crochet is out for the year, Aaron Bummer has been ordinary, and Jose Ruiz has been bad. They did add Kendall Graveman, who's been fine, but he can't cross the border.

The offense has fallen off considerably as well. The obvious culprit is catcher Yasmani Grandal, who hit .240/.420/.520 with 23 HRs in 2021. This year - .169/.279/.225 with 2 HRs in 41 games. Third baseman Yoan Moncada also seems to have fallen off the face of the earth, and there's only so much Tim Anderson can do to make up for it. They should at least have CF Luis Robert back for the games with the Blue Jays.

We were talking to (and past!) one another yesterday about the lineup. All I want to do here is forecast how I expect the playing time to be allotted over the final 115 games.  The pattern for the catchers is already pretty well established. Jansen catches Ryu, Gausman, Kikuchi; Kirk catches Berrios and Manoah. SO Jansen should catch another 69 games, Kirk another 46. That's assuming there are no injuries, of course (pause whilst I double over in hysterical laughter.) Catchers do get hurt. They work too hard - everybody nowadays works very hard, but catchers work much harder than that - and catchers just take too much of a beating, much of it before the nightly broadcast even begins. Superheroes like Russell Martin are the exception.

There are also 115 DH games to account for, and it says here that Springer gets 30 and Guerrero gets 20. That would give them 42 and 27 all told over the course of the season, which is similar to last year's usage, when they were the DH in 38 and 28 games respectively. I also foresee about 25 DH games going to Hernandez, Gurriel, and Bichette, which would give those three a total of 31 DH games on the season. Last year that trio had 36 DH games. And that would leave 40 DH games for Kirk, who finishes with 120 starts, 71 at catcher and 49 at DH. The 75 upcoming DH games for the regulars creates playing opportunities for the other fellows, and I think we're all hoping Cavan Biggio takes advantage and gets at least 60 of them, along with random appearances when Chapman or Espinal need a day. Tapia can play once a week, to keep him interested while they remake his swing. Zimmer can pinch-run and play some defense.

All this, of course, assumes that there are no serious injuries. How can I imagine such a thing? Well, I could be on drugs. Rompin' Ronnie was a role model to many.


Tue 31 May - Giolito (3-1, 2.63) vs Gausman (4-3, 2.25)
Wed 1 Jun - Kopech (1-1, 1.29) vs Ryu (2-0, 5.48)
Thu 2 Jun - Cueto (0-1, 2.41) vs Manoah (5-1, 1.77)