Series Preview #13: Cleveland Indians (14-22) at Chicago White Sox (17-17)
Bob Toth | On 18, May 2015
If only the Cleveland Indians could find a way to play all of their road games in the state of Texas.
After concluding their second series win and pulling off the ever elusive series-opening win on Friday night, the Indians ended the Texas portion of their schedule with a 4-2 record on the season. The Lone Star State just happens to be the site of the Indians only two series wins on the season, which would seem to be a bad factoid as the team moves on to Illinois to take on the Chicago White Sox in a four-game series this week.
The Indians got that rare series opening win on Friday against the Rangers in an 8-3 final as the bullpen supported strong efforts from Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, and Nick Swisher at the plate. Kipnis continued his excellence of late with a three-hit night and drove in the deciding runs with two outs in the top of the ninth in a 10-8 victory on Saturday. With the opportunity for a sweep, Carlos Carrasco threw a complete game but the Indians offense slumbered in a 5-1 loss on Sunday.
The White Sox have won five straight after taking the final two of their road series with the Milwaukee Brewers and then sweeping the Athletics in three straight in Oakland. They used a five-run seventh inning to edge the A’s 7-6 on Friday. They held on late on Saturday, 4-3. A four-run fifth inning, including a tie-breaking bases loaded walk and a two-run single that followed, gave them all the runs they would need in a 7-3 win on Sunday.
PITCHING PROBABLES/GAME NOTES
Monday, 5/18, 8:10 PM ET – RHP Corey Kluber (1-5, 4.27 ERA) vs. LHP Chris Sale (3-1, 5.09)
Tuesday, 5/19, 8:10 PM ET – RHP Trevor Bauer (2-1, 3.67) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (2-3, 4.39)
Wednesday, 5/20, 8:10 PM ET – TBA vs. LHP Carlos Rodon (1-0, 4.96)
Thursday, 5/21, 8:10 PM ET – RHP Danny Salazar (4-1, 4.06) vs. LHP John Danks (2-3, 4.66)
The Indians will see four left-handed starters at U.S. Cellular Field this week. They are 4-9 (.308) on the season against southpaws, the second-worst mark in the American League (Oakland, 1-8).
Kluber is 4-3 in his career against the White Sox with a 3.60 ERA in eleven games with one complete game. Melky Cabrera is 5-for-11 lifetime against him with a double and a triple. Jose Abreu has hit .381 with two homers and six RBI, the only blasts Kluber has allowed to current Sox players.
The three-time All-Star Sale is 3-4 against the Tribe with a 4.29 ERA, the third-worst ERA he has allowed against an American League opponent. The usually patient Brantley has just three hits in 24 plate appearances against him with ten strikeouts. Carlos Santana has hit .370 (10-for-27) with ten singles and five RBI.
Bauer has seen some rocky performances against the White Sox in Chicago, but is 1-0 in his career against them with a win earlier this season. He has allowed just two runs against them this year in 13 innings. Abreu has five singles off of him in ten career plate appearances, but has struck out three times. Geovany Soto has K’d in four of his five ABs against him.
Quintana is 4-0 in a dozen career games against the Indians and is coming off of seven innings of four-hit ball in his last outing. Despite the lefty-lefty matchup, Brantley has hit .500 off of him with six singles, three doubles, a home run, and five RBI while striking out just once in 24 plate appearances.
Cleveland will need to make a roster move in time for Wednesday’s game to add a starter. They could look to veteran right-hander Shaun Marcum, who last started for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers on Wednesday and is 4-0 there in five starts with a 1.36 ERA.
Rodon was rocky in his MLB debut against the Indians on April 21st. He allowed two earned runs in two and one-third innings, walking three and allowing three base hits. That wildness has continued in his two starts this season, as he has allowed ten walks in ten innings, but has struck out 13 while giving up seven runs.
Salazar is 2-1 against the White Sox, but both wins have come at Progressive Field. Alexei Ramirez has no problem picking up the ball against him, with eight hits in ten career at bats, including a homer and three RBI. Abreu has a pair of solo homers, but three strikeouts, in five trips in the box against him.
With the left-handed odds stacked in his favor, Danks has not been able to figure out the Indians in his career, posting a 5-12 record with a 5.16 ERA in 24 starts. Lonnie Chisenhall is 4-for-7 off of him, while Ryan Raburn has hit .362 with four homers and 12 RBI in 54 appearances.
Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio will show all four games of the series. Comcast SportsNet will air each of the first two and the fourth of the Chicago broadcasts, with WPWR handling Wednesday’s game. Radio calls for the series can be found on the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network and WSCR 670 in the Chicago area.
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
TEAM W-L PCT GB STREAK
Kansas City 24-14 .632 – W1
Detroit 23-15 .605 1.0 L1
Minnesota 21-17 .553 3.0 L1
Chicago 17-17 .500 5.0 W5
Cleveland 14-22 .389 9.0 L1
LONG STANDING RIVALRY
The Indians are 1,029-1,060 against one of their oldest rivals in baseball, including a 481-561 mark on the road.
The edge has gone to the White Sox this season, who are 3-2 against the Tribe in two series. The two clubs split a two-gamer in Cleveland in April, while the Sox took two of three in their previous opportunity to host the Indians in Chicago. The two clubs have traded off wins this season.
ON THE MOVE and ON THE MEND
Austin Adams (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus May 16; optioned back May 18
Mike Aviles (UTL) – activated from the Family Medical Emergency list on May 18
Bruce Chen (P) – designated for assignment May 16
Gavin Floyd (SP) – 60-day disabled list (April 5) – right elbow surgery in March
Yan Gomes (C) – 15-day disabled list (April 12) – right MCL sprain; sent to Columbus to continue rehab assignment May 18
T.J. House (SP) – 15-day disabled list (May 1) – left shoulder inflammation; in Lake County on rehab assignment beginning May 15
Josh Tomlin (P) – 60-day disabled list (April 10) – right shoulder surgery
Matt Albers (RP) – 15-day disabled list (April 20) – compression fracture in right finger
Robert Brantly (C) – 15-day disabled list (March 27) – left thumb fracture
Micah Johnson (2B) – optioned to Triple-A Charlotte (May 14)
Nate Jones (RP) – 60-day disabled list (March 27) – recovery from July 2014 Tommy John surgery
Carlos Sanchez (IF) – recalled from Triple-A Charlotte (May 15)
BY THE NUMBERS
Kipnis has hit safely in nine straight games, his longest such streak this season, while hitting .553 during the tear. His batting average has jumped 72 points during the hot stretch. His streak of seven consecutive games reaching base three times or more ended on Sunday when he reached just twice in the Indians loss.
Brantley hit .556 in the series against the Rangers and has driven in a run in four straight games and five of six. He is hitting .351 in his last ten games and has hit safely in 15 of 16 games dating back to the final game of April. All four of his home runs and 15 of his 22 RBI this season have come in May, when he has hit .357.
David Murphy has hit safely in four straight and six of seven, hitting .524 in that span. He is hitting .315 on the season overall, including .319 against right-handers, but he has not seen lefties but one time this year.
Michael Bourn has hit in six of eight and is hitting .400 in that stretch as he continues to show improvement hitting from the seventh spot in the lineup. He has struggled on the road, hitting .161 away from home this year.
THE OTHER GUYS
Avisail Garcia has been on a tear most of the season, but especially in the White Sox’ recent five-game winning streak. He has hit in all five games, with four multi-hit contests, while posting a .524 average, hitting two home runs, and driving in seven. He is hitting .395 in his last ten games and .346 on the season.
Abreu, who has historically been a thorn in the Indians side in his young MLB career, has put together a 12-game hitting streak. He is hitting .295 on the season with six homers and 22 RBI.
Adam Eaton has hit in six straight to boost his batting average 16 points. The Ohio native has hit .333 against the Tribe this year.
Adam LaRoche is starting to settle in in his return to the American League after a long stay in the National League with Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Washington. He is hitting just .238 on the season with four homers and 16 RBI, but he has hit safely in each of his last six.
Herb Score, longtime Cleveland broadcasting legend, got his start on the diamond with the Indians, but wrapped up his career with a three-year stay in Chicago.
Score’s story is well known in Indians’ lore. He was 16-10 in his rookie season, making the All-Star team, winning the Rookie of the Year award, and leading the league with 245 strikeouts. He was even better the following season in 1956, making another All-Star squad while going 20-9 with a league-best 263 strikeouts. The efforts helped keep the Indians in the race all season, as each club finished in second place in the standings at year’s end.
After his career-altering injury against the New York Yankees on May 7th, 1957, Score never was the same. After pitching in 68 games in his first two seasons, he appeared in just 47 in his last three in an Indians uniform before he was dealt to Chicago on April 18th, 1960, for pitcher Barry Latman, who would spend four years with the club while making the AL All-Star team in 1961.
Score made 35 more Major League appearances scattered over three seasons with the Sox from 1960 to 1962, spending a large chunk of the final two years in the minors. He entered the broadcast booth in 1964, working Indians games through the conclusion of the 1997 season. He passed away November 11th, 2008, at the age of 75.
The White Sox will wrap up their homestand with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins, beginning Friday night. The Indians will return home to start a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds before welcoming the Rangers to town for three to conclude their season series.
The two AL Central rivals will not see each other again until the Sox come to Cleveland from July 23rd through 26th for a four-game series.
Photo: AP Photo/LM Otero