How’s this for a jolt for the red-hot Chicago White Sox?
Third baseman Yoan Moncada is expected to make his season debut Monday night as the White Sox aim to stretch their winning streak to seven games when they host the Cleveland Guardians.
Moncada hasn’t played since Chicago’s American League Division Series loss to Houston last year. He suffered a right oblique strain on the last day of spring training and landed on the injured list before excelling during a six-game rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte.
Moncada went 7-for-22 and hit two home runs for the Knights.
“We are excited to get him back, period,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “But add the exclamation mark with the way (Charlotte manager) Wes (Helms) is talking about how he’s working, great frame of mind and really getting the bat out. He’s ready now to help us.”
La Russa said Moncada would move into the No. 2 slot in the batting order, which will move center fielder Luis Robert to the cleanup spot.
“Moncada is swinging the bat well, and he adds a lot to the lineup at that spot,” La Russa said.
The White Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday with a 3-2 victory that capped a 5-0 trip.
With relievers Kendall Graveman and Liam Hendriks unavailable due to rest, streaking Chicago turned to rookie left-hander Bennett Sousa in crunch time, as Sousa notched his first career save.
“They key is not to let the pressure get too big, even though it’s Fenway Park, first time, and that tying run is on second base,” Sousa said.
Cleveland, which outscored visiting Chicago 19-5 during a three-game sweep last month, took four of six from San Diego and Toronto during a just-completed six-game homestand. The Guardians rallied for a 4-3 victory against the Blue Jays on Sunday behind Oscar Mercado’s go-ahead single with two outs in the eighth inning.
“I just stuck with the fastball, and (Toronto’s Adam Climber) threw it in a spot where I was able to get a barrel on it,” Mercado said.
Franmil Reyes has stood out for Cleveland of late, rebounding from a 2-for-32 slump by batting .522 (12-for-23) with a home run and five RBIs in the past six games.
“He was going through it, but everyone knows how good of a hitter he is,” Mercado said. “He’s a huge reason why we just won the game and why we’re on the roll we are.”
Guardians right-hander Zach Plesac (1-3, 4.44 ERA) is set to start against White Sox righty Michael Kopech (0-1, 1.17).
Plesac defeated the White Sox in Cleveland last month, scattering two runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings with one walk and three strikeouts. In 10 career starts against Chicago, he is 3-4 with a 4.18 ERA and 53 strikeouts and 56 innings.
Kopech has struggled against Cleveland in his career, going 0-1 with an 8.22 ERA in five appearances, including one start, with 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.
–Field Level Media