Series Preview #31: Chicago White Sox (42-50) at Cleveland Indians (45-48)
Bob Toth | On 23, Jul 2015
Two teams with high hopes at the beginning of the season wrap up their weeks on the wrong sides of the .500 mark as the Cleveland Indians return home to Progressive Field to host the Chicago White Sox in a four-game series with the trade deadline looming closer and closer.
The Indians (45-48) followed their usual protocol, dropping the first game of their series against the Milwaukee Brewers during the week. Three early runs would prove plenty in the first game, as the Cleveland offense extended Monday’s day off into Tuesday in an 8-1 loss. They returned with a vengeance on Wednesday, as two home runs powered the Tribe to a 7-5 come-from-behind victory. The series split sent the Indians back home on the positive end of a 3-2 road trip to start the second half of the season.
The White Sox (42-50) are in a four-game spiral in the loss column, continuing their disappointing and confusing season following a costly shopping spree in the offseason. They dropped both games in their series at home against the St. Louis Cardinals during the week. A pair of homers in the fifth were not enough for the Sox on Tuesday as the Cardinals earned an 8-5 win. The game was closer on Wednesday but the end results were the same as the Cards scored three runs in the eighth inning to spoil six and two-thirds of shutout ball from John Danks in a 3-2 loss.
PITCHING PROBABLES and GAME NOTES
The 30-year-old Sox right-hander allowed four runs in a loss his last time out, surrendering two home runs in an outing for the fourth time this year. The free agent to be has made eight straight starts and eleven of 12 of seven innings or more. He threw six scoreless innings against the Indians earlier this season in his first career start against them. Bauer has earned the decision in eleven straight starts this season. He is 2-0 in five starts against the White Sox in his career with a 2.60 ERA, with both wins coming in three starts this season.
The 23-year-old Quintana debuted against Cleveland in 2012 by allowing one run in five and two-thirds innings. The Colombian has made five career appearances at Progressive Field and is 1-0 with a 1.21 ERA and is 4-1 overall against Cleveland with a 2.90 ERA in 13 games. Kluber earned his fifth win of the season as the Indians put up nine runs for him, just the third time in 20 starts this year that the Indians scored more than four runs in a game he started. He is 4-3 in his career in 12 games against Chicago with a complete game, 1.14 WHIP, and 3.30 ERA.
Sale is the AL leader in strikeouts at 163. He has had ten games of ten strikeouts or more this season, including eight straight from late May through the entire month of June. He struck out 75 batters in 44 1/3 innings while winning AL Player of the Month in June. He has not had the success of his lefty teammate Quintana against the Indians, going 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA over 22 games, but he did throw eight innings of one-run ball in a no-decision this season against them. Carrasco, after earning decisions in each of his first 17 starts this season, has taken no-decisions in both of his last two starts, despite allowing just three runs over 13 innings. He is 3-5 in his career against the White Sox with a 5.06 ERA.
Rodon, the third pick of the 2014 draft, made his Major League debut on April 21st against the Tribe, walking three and allowing two earned runs in two and one-third innings. He is coming off of a rough outing against the Cardinals on Tuesday when he allowed seven runs on seven hits in four innings. Salazar walked three and gave up just two hits and three runs in six innings in his last start but took the loss with the offense notably absent in what grew to be an 8-1 loss Tuesday. In five career starts against the White Sox, he is 3-1 with a 3.80 ERA, including 41 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings. He did not allow a White Sox run in six innings of his only start against them this season in a win.
Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio will broadcast all four games of the series for the Indians, while radio calls can be found on the radio affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
Comcast Sportsnet will air the games on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. WGN will handle Saturday night’s game. Radio broadcasts with Chicago’s call of the game will be available on WSCR 670 and WRTO 1200 in the White Sox broadcast area.
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
TEAM W-L PCT. GB WCGB STREAK
Kansas City 57-36 .613 – – W2
Minnesota 50-44 .532 7.5 – L4
Detroit 47-47 .500 10.5 3.0 W1
Cleveland 45-48 .484 12.0 4.5 W1
Chicago 42-50 .457 14.5 7.0 L4
Chicago has the edge in head-to-head matchups against Cleveland in the two clubs’ 115-year rivalry. The Sox have won 1,061 games, while the Tribe have won 1,032. Home field has played the advantage for the Indians, who have a 548-499 mark at home in the series.
This series will be just the second time Chicago comes to Cleveland this season. The teams split an earlier two-game set in mid-April, with the White Sox winning a 4-1 final in the opener while the Indians claimed the latter game, 4-2. Quintana defeated Carrasco in the opener, while Bauer won against Danks. David Robertson and Cody Allen each earned saves in the contests.
The Indians have won three straight games over the White Sox, taking three of four the last time the two teams met in May at U.S. Cellular. It tilted the season series in the Indians favor, 5-4, after starting the season 2-4 against their division rival.
ON THE MOVE and ON THE MEND
Gavin Floyd (SP) – 60-day disabled list (March 16) – right elbow surgery
Nick Hagadone (RP) – 15-day disabled list (July 8) – lower back strain, unspecified left elbow in jury
Nick Swisher (DH) – 15-day disabled list (June 14) – left knee inflammation; has begun rehab assignment
Josh Tomlin (P) – 60-day disabled list (April 5) – right shoulder surgery; has begun rehab assignment
Nate Jones (RP) – 60-day disabled list (March 27) – recovery from July 2014 Tommy John surgery; has begun rehab assignment
CLEVELAND BY THE NUMBERS
Michael Brantley remains hot five games into the second half. He is hitting .474 with two homers, three doubles, and nine RBI. In addition to his nine hits in 19 at bats and three runs scored, he has walked five times without striking out, earning a .583 on-base percentage. He had five hits in eight at bats against the Brewers during the week, including a four-hit, four-RBI game on Wednesday when he came a triple short of the cycle.
Jason Kipnis has equaled Brantley’s nine hits in the second half, getting them in 21 at bats. He is hitting .429 with a .480 on-base percentage during that stretch. He has hit in all five games since the All-Star break, including four straight two-hit games.
Carlos Santana, despite all the complaints he has received this season for his first half offensive slump, is hitting .353 with a .522 OBP in the second half with six hits and six walks. He has three doubles, three runs batted in, and two runs scored
Yan Gomes has a homer and two doubles in the second half as he appears to be settling in after having to start from scratch after his early season knee injury.
SORTING THE SOX STATS
Jose Abreu has made a habit of pounding Indians pitching during his brief MLB career. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year is hitting .287 this season with a team-high 14 homers and 48 RBI. He has four homers and five RBI in eleven career games in Cleveland and has hit .293 with four doubles, eight homers, and 16 RBI in 25 career games against the Indians overall. He has struck out in 33 of his 107 career plate appearances against the Tribe.
Rookie Tyler Saladino has started strong since joining the club on July 10th. In three series (nine games), he has hit .314 with a triple, two homers, and four RBI. His seven-game hitting streak came to an end on Wednesday. It will be just his second non-interleague series of his career after debuting against the Cubs and playing against the Cards during the week. He had six hits in 16 at bats against the Royals in divisional play.
Carlos Sanchez has hit in five straight games. He is hitting just .200 on the year, including a 1-for-9 in a series in May against the Tribe this season after a 2-for-15 against them last season, starting with his MLB debut on July 13th, 2014.
Ohio product Adam Eaton has hit in seven straight games against the Indians and eight of nine this season.
The Indians will honor their Hall of Fame outfielder and an overlooked icon in both the game of baseball and the advancement of a better society on Saturday with the unveiling of a statue of Larry Doby.
Doby joined the Indians midway through the 1947 season and saw minimal playing time before bursting on the scene with a .301 average, 14 homers, and 66 RBI as the Indians claimed the World Series victory over Boston. Beginning in 1949, he made seven straight AL All-Star teams and would twice lead the league in homers and four times would top 100 RBI. He finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting in 1954 as the Indians fell disappointingly short in the World Series against the New York Giants.
Following his final All-Star season in 1955, he was traded by the Indians to the White Sox, where he had two serviceable seasons before he was traded back to Cleveland for the 1958 season. He would be traded to the Detroit Tigers and started the 1959 campaign there but would spend just 18 games with the club before he was sent back to Chicago, where he concluded his 13-year MLB career with 21 games with the Sox.
He would return to the field in 1962 with the Chunichi Dragons in Japan, but would hit .225 in 72 games at the age of 38. Afterwards, he got into coaching, first with the Montreal Expos from 1971 to 1973 before returning to Cleveland once again as a coach for the club in 1974. He coached again for the Expos in 1976 before heading to the White Sox as a coach in 1977 and 1978, serving as the team’s manager for a portion of the second half of the season. His jersey number 14 was retired by the Indians in 1994 and he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1998.
Cleveland will host another rival on Monday as the first place Kansas City Royals will come to town for three games before the Indians head west to visit the Oakland Athletics. Chicago will head to Boston for a four-game series at Fenway Park.
Photo: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images