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Guardians Offense Touches Rock Bottom Against White Sox

The Chicago White Sox are one of the worst teams in baseball. They own, at 12-28, the worst record in the American League. Their pitchers have a 4.75 ERA, a number that ranks 26th out of 30 squads in MLB, yet the Cleveland Guardians offense has been unable to inflict meaningful damage against the Sox in the last three games.

The Guards entered the series against Chicago with a 24-13 record and, as of Sunday morning, they are now 24-16. They have dropped three contests in a row against one of the weakest organizations in baseball.

It all starts with the offense. Cleveland’s pitching has held Chicago to three runs in two of the three weekend games they have played, but when the lineup manages to cross the plate just six times in three contests against a lousy pitching staff, something is off.

Granted, the Guardians have seen two of the decent starters on the White Sox’s roster, Erick Fedde and Garrett Crochet. But if they intend to fight for a spot on the playoffs, you have to make things happen at the plate and attack a very weak bullpen, at the very least.

The Kyle Manzardo call-up was needed, as he was tearing up Triple-A. However, it came at the expense of star leadoff hitter Steven Kwan and his .407 OBP, and the issues with the Guards’ offense start there: at the top.

Kwan will be out for at least three more weeks with a hamstring injury, and he is the catalyst of the offense. José Ramírez and Josh Naylor are among the league leaders in RBI in large part because they had Kwan getting on base multiple times per game in front of them.

But the Guardians offense has deeper issues. There are at least five or six players getting regular or semi-regular playing time that are slumping badly at the moment: catcher Bo Naylor (.569 OPS), shortstop Brayan Rocchio (.578 OPS), utilityman Gabriel Arias (.620 OPS) and outfielders Ramón Laureano (.536 OPS), Estevan Florial (.651 OPS), and Tyler Freeman (.637 OPS).

That’s more than half of the lineup right there. Even Andrés Giménez (.650 OPS) is having a hard time right now. J-Ram and Naylor can’t do all the heavy lifting by themselves. Freeman, at least, is making some hard contact, but the rest are struggling mightily.

The Guardians offense just got Manzardo from the minors, but there are still several hitters in Triple-A who probably deserve a call-up given the current offensive landscape on the team. Daniel Schneemann and Jhonkensy Noel are knocking on the door of a promotion, and Florial and Laureano in particular need to produce much better numbers if they don’t want to lose their spots.

The Guards have such a good pitching staff that it would be a shame if their offense held them back. They are also well-coached and managed, and have an amazing player development system. Hitters, however, need to work on their game, their swing, and their approach because Cleveland could be in danger of losing their hard-earned top spot in the AL Central because of the lack of run production.


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