Gavin Williams returns as Guardians host White Sox

Gavin Williams is finally set to return to a major league mound — and potentially help the Cleveland Guardians extend their latest run of home success.

Meanwhile, the lowly Chicago White Sox continue to look for anything positive amid their dismal campaign.

Williams makes his anticipated season debut as the Guardians eye a seventh straight home victory when they meet the White Sox on Wednesday in the middle game of a three-game series.

Following an impressive 2023 rookie season, when Williams posted a 3.29 ERA and struck out 81 over 82 innings spanning 16 starts, the right-hander was expected to be a key part of Cleveland’s 2024 rotation. Then he strained his right elbow during spring training, and his season was delayed.

Now, after a solid rehab assignment in the minors, Williams is ready to help a Guardians rotation that lost ace Shane Bieber for the season, just sent veteran Triston McKenzie down to Triple-A Columbus to work out his own issues and ranks near the bottom of the American League with a 4.42 ERA.

“(Williams has) built up his pitch volume, which was the most important thing,” Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “Probably the most encouraging thing is he bounced back better and better each time.”

Williams went 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 17 innings over five starts for Columbus and one for Double-A Akron.

Facing Chicago for the first time, Williams could be monitored closely upon his major league return. However, the Guardians hope he provides some stability for one of the club’s weaker points.

“We think he’s at a point now where he’s able to help us win games at the major league level,” Antonetti added.

The Guardians improved to an AL-best 53-30 with a 7-6 win on Tuesday in the series opener. Tyler Freeman and rookie Daniel Schneemann each hit a two-run homer for Cleveland, which overcame blowing two multi-run leads to improve to 27-9 at home. The Guardians have totaled 40 runs during their six-game home winning streak.

Cleveland is 4-4 this season against the White Sox, who have not been an easy out for Stephen Vogt’s club despite being 39 games under .500 and 8-34 on the road.

Chicago’s Andrew Vaughn, who batted .337 with six homers in June, went deep on Tuesday. Teammate Luis Robert Jr. had a two-run homer and a two-run single in the defeat and is 7-for-21 with three homers and seven RBIs in his past five games.

Meanwhile, scheduled White Sox starter Erick Fedde (5-3, 3.23 ERA) has been a major bright spot. A possible trade piece later this month, Fedde looks to continue an impressive road stretch in which he has gone 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his past three outings outside of Chicago.

“We have the belief (Fedde) could be very successful here, and he’s obviously proving everybody right that he can be one of the top pitchers in baseball,” pitching coach Ethan Katz said, according to

Fedde, hampered by a three-run third inning while yielding four through six frames against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 26, was roughed up at Cleveland on April 10. Bo Naylor had a two-run homer and Josh Naylor and Steven Kwan added solo shots as Fedde yielded five runs (four earned) over five-plus innings. He walked three and struck out three.

Fedde, though, was simply stellar against the Guardians at home on May 9, allowing six hits, but no walks, over six scoreless innings in Chicago’s 3-2 victory. He fanned three and that contest and improved his career record against Cleveland to 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in three games (two starts).

With a double on Tuesday, Josh Naylor is batting .388 during an 18-game hitting streak against the White Sox.

–Field Level Media