Home Season Comes to a Close as Indians Host White Sox
Bob Toth | On 23, Sep 2016
Their magic number is four. Their AL Central lead is a healthy seven games. There are just ten games left in the regular season.
Despite some tough luck on the injury front, things have gone rather nicely this season for the Cleveland Indians (89-63), who set their targets on a home field celebration this weekend. With three dates remaining from Friday to Sunday against the Chicago White Sox, the Indians could reduce their magic number to clinch down to one game with a sweep. The club could conceivably clinch on Saturday or Sunday, depending on how much the Kansas City Royals provide help in knocking the Detroit Tigers out of the divisional race in their weekend set.
The White Sox (72-80) stand in the Indians’ way this weekend, try to pull themselves back closer to the .500 mark. They are coming off of a series win the last time the two clubs met in Chicago, when they took three of four from the Tribe on their two-city road trip. The White Sox are coming off of an off day after dropping two to the Philadelphia Phillies.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Gonzalez has been effective since his return from the 15-day disabled list. He is 2-1 in his three September starts since his return and has provided quality outings in all three, allowing three runs in each of his last two starts. His last time out, he took a tough loss against the Royals after allowing three runs on six h its in seven innings of work. Bauer will make his 27th start and 34th overall appearance of the season on Friday against Chicago. He owns a 3-2 lifetime record against the White Sox with a 3.70 ERA, but is 0-1 with a 4.40 mark this season in three outings (two starts).
The 27-year-old lefty will face the Indians for the fifth time this season. He enters with a 1-2 record against them this season, but that win came in his last outing against them in Chicago, when he worked eight innings of one-run baseball, giving up a walk and five hits while striking out six. The lone run came on a solo home run. It will be a bullpen game for the Indians on Saturday, with Anderson drawing the “starting” nod for the first time since a spot start in Seattle on June 7. Each of his last eight appearances for the Indians had been in a relief role.
Rodon drew a loss the last time he faced Cleveland on September 14, allowing six runs on nine hits in five innings of work. Sunday will be his fourth start of the season against the Indians and he will be looking for his first win against them on the year. In his last start on Monday against the Royals, he allowed another six runs over four innings of work. Tomlin earned the Indians’ only win of their last series against Chicago, working five innings and allowing just one run on four hits with two strikeouts in his first start in more than two weeks. He was even better in his most recent start, giving up just one run on five hits to the Royals on Tuesday night in six and two-thirds innings. He has allowed just three runs in 13 innings of work against the White Sox in two starts and two wins this season.
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all games); CSN-C (Fri/Sat); WGN (Sun)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WLS 890
Michael Brantley (LF) – out for season (May 10) – recovery from right biceps surgery; out for season
Carlos Carrasco (SP) – out for season (September 17) – fractured fifth metacarpal
Yan Gomes (C) – out for season (July 17) – separated right shoulder; broken right wrist
Danny Salazar (SP) – out for season (September 12) – mild strain in right flexor musculature
Matt Davidson (3B) – out for season – recovery from July 2016 right foot surgery
Austin Jackson (OF) – out for season – medial meniscus tear in left knee
Brett Lawrie (3B) – 15-day disabled list (July 22) – left hamstring strain
Jake Petricka (P) – out for season – recovery from June 2016 right hip surgery
Zach Putnam (RP) – 15-day disabled list (June 21) – ulnar neuritis in right elbow
Charlie Tilson (OF) – out for season – recovery from August 2016 left hamstring surgery
Daniel Webb (P) – out for season – recovery from June 2016 Tommy John surgery
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
AVOIDING A CY KINDA GUY
Chris Sale, the White Sox staff ace and a leading candidate for the Cy Young Award in the American League this season, will once miss out on a chance to pitch against the Indians. The same occurred during the previous four-game set in Chicago.
Sale lasted just four innings on Wednesday, allowing six runs on seven hits while also hitting three batters. The rough outing moved him from second in the AL ERA race to eighth
ABREU EXCELLING AGAINST CLEVELAND
Jose Abreu has appeared in all 16 games of the season series to date between the two clubs and has done his fair share to try to get the Sox some wins. He has slashed .356/.433/.610 this season against Cleveland pitching with six doubles, three homers, and ten RBI.
For the month, Abreu has put up a .366/.418/.610 line with two doubles, six homers, and 22 RBI while getting 30 hits.
EATON PERFORMING WELL IN SEPTEMBER
Outfielder Adam Eaton returns to the scene of the crime from earlier in the season, when his ninth inning grand slam off of Cody Allen proved to be the difference. Eaton has continued to hit the ball well in the final month of the season, hitting .345 in 19 games with a team-high eight doubles. His 29 hits are second to Abreu for the month and he has added three homers and 12 RBI to his contributions.
The Indians improved to 44-22 against the AL Central with their sweep of the Kansas City Royals during the week. They have won ten games against the White Sox and Minnesota Twins this season, eleven against the Royals with three more to play, and 13 against the Tigers with four left to play next week.
The White Sox, who will conclude the 19-game season series with the Indians this weekend, have been outscored 77-64.
LINDOR LIMPING INTO OCTOBER
Shortstop All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor has seen his first sustained struggles at the plate over the last week as he is hitless in his last 19 at bats and has just three hits over his last 41 ABs, a span of 12 games.
SANTANA AND RAMIREZ REMAIN HOT
Ramirez is hitting .354 in 20 September games with a team-leading 28 hits. He has nine doubles, a triple, and has driven in eleven runs in that span while also walking six times and stealing two bases.
Santana is hitting .310 with a .451 on-base percentage. He has walked (19) nearly as many times as he has reached on hit (22) in his 20 games. He has scored a team-high 14 runs and driven in a club-best 17 RBI in the month, using five doubles and six homers to help him on the way.
With the home portion of the schedule completed, the Indians will hit the road for Detroit for a four-game set from Comerica Park beginning Monday night. The White Sox will play out the string as they return home to U.S. Cellular Field for four with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images