On the one hand, the Cleveland Indians have the worst record in the division after only snapping their six-game losing streak this past Sunday. On the other hand, the Tribe (so racist, so racist) are 5-1 against the White Sox this season; with the one victory coming via a 'dominant' Mark Buehrle effort and a lot of wild pitches from Jake Westbrook. One could easily qualify it as a fluke.
THAT'S RIGHT! The White Sox needed a fluke for the one time they beat the Cleveland Indians this year. I feel guilty calling for people's jobs in this economy, but shouldn't a random person in the player development department get fired every time that sentence is typed? The Indians have gone from being a team that should have won the 2007 ALCS to a team in 2010 that is seriously challenging the Baltimore Orioles to see which team's front office cares less about winning. Yet they own us.
Coming into this series, Cleveland has lost shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore to what could be long-term injuries. Cabrera's is definitely long-term, whereas Sizemore is still weighing the possibility of surgery. While both these players are supposed to have the future of the team centered around them, neither have actually played very well. Cabrera's OPS is under .700, and Sizemore has 8 more strikeouts than hits. When Sizemore signed to a 6-year $23 million contract at the end of 2006, I thought it was dumb for a guy of his talent and potential to commit for such a long period of time at way below what his market value would be by the time he hit his physical prime. To his credit, Sizemore has proved me dead wrong by evolving into an injury-prone strikeout fiend. However, any replacements Cleveland inserts for these guys probably won't be any worse.
Monday night will feature John Danks versus Justin Masterson. Danks has lost his last three decisions despite still being without a poor start on the year. At this point, the league might determine that the White Sox owe Danks money for all he will lose in free agency due to the fact that our incompetent offense and defense continually saps away from his win-loss record. Boston-centric sports columnist Bill Simmons once referred to the Monday starter for the Indians, Justin Masterson, as "some stiff we convinced Cleveland was good to get them to trade us Victor Martinez." Masterson is 0-4 with a 5.65 ERA and 1.81 WHIP, and the Indians replaced Martinez at catcher with a guy hitting .200, so it's easy to make fun of them until remembering that Masterson only allowed a single run in his previous start and win versus Chicago. When hearing stats like that, one can't help but wonder if Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams agreed that if they ever won a World Series, they'd both let their kids pick out the roster one year, about five years later.
I'll get to the rest of the pitching match-ups later this week, but just know that they involve two guys for the Indians who are really mediocre but have shut down the White Sox, and that the Sox will start two guys who are supposed to be good, but have already had 6 to 7 'off nights' this season when it's only May. Perhaps this team isn't headed anywhere meaningful this year, but it's still really important to not finish in last place. If for no other reason than idle White Sox fans are the devil's playthings. Just ask Tom Gamboa.