Indians Open Progressive Field for the 2017 Season Against White Sox
Bob Toth | On 11, Apr 2017
While the Cleveland Indians’ road trip got off to a great start with a three-game sweep in Texas against the Rangers, the club was tripped up hard in its return to Arizona when it was dealt a discouraging three-game sweep at the arms and bats of the Diamondbacks.
The Tribe will look to get itself righted again and put that bad series in the rear view when it hosts the Chicago White Sox for three straight at Progressive Field this week.
The Indians (3-3) started the season with some impressive late inning dramatics in the heart of Texas, but back in the desert, they were met by a white-hot Diamondbacks team that contained the Tribe offense while putting up buckets of their own runs. The Indians were outscored 21-7 in the three-game set and were not in many of the games late.
The White Sox (2-3) have alternated losses and wins to start the season and have had a battle with the weather. They split a weather-shortened series at home against the Detroit Tigers, losing 6-3 on Tuesday before a decisive 11-2 win on Thursday. Over the weekend against the Minnesota Twins, they dropped the opener 3-1 before a 6-2 win on Saturday. In the rubber match Sunday afternoon, they fell 4-1 to fall back below the .500 mark in the early season. Offense has been the biggest struggle for the club in the early going, as half of their season tally for runs came in one ball game.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
The 35-year-old 12-year veteran Shields started his season with a win against the Tigers, but it did not come without its concerns. He allowed just one run on two hits over five and two-thirds innings with five strikeouts, but he put on five base runners on free passes. He has faced the Indians 18 times in his career with a 4-6 record, a 4.02 ERA, and a 1.33 WHIP. Carrasco started his season on a positive note after allowing two runs on four hits over five and two-thirds innings against Texas in a win last Tuesday. He has had little success against Chicago throughout his career with the exception of 2014, when he went 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four games. Lifetime, he is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 17 games (16 starts).
Holland has been a thorn in the side of the Indians throughout his career. Joining the Sox in the offseason on a one-year, $6 million deal, the Ohio native took the loss in a quality start his first time out, striking out five over six innings. In nine career outings against the Tribe, he is 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP, and a complete game. It includes a perfect 3-0 record in four starts at Progressive Field with a tiny 1.23 ERA. Unlike his rotation mate Carrasco, Salazar has had some better results against the White Sox in his career. He owns a 5-2 record lifetime in nine starts with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP with a strikeout rate of 13.3. He struck out nine in his first start after leading all pitchers in strikeouts in the spring, but was dealt a no-decision after allowing four earned runs and five runs total over five and two-thirds innings.
The 32-year-old Gonzalez has had good luck against the Indians in his career. In six appearances (five starts), he has a 4-1 mark with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. He faced the Tribe twice in 2016, earning a win and a loss while allowing eight runs (seven earned) over eleven innings. He went six innings and got the win in his first start of the year against the Twins, striking out six and giving up two runs. Tomlin started fast, but fell apart against Arizona in his first start of the season and was tagged for six runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts over four and two-thirds innings. The 32-year-old held the White Sox at bay last season, going 2-1 against them with a 1.83 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP over 19 2/3 innings of three starts.
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all games); MLB Network (4/11); Comcast SportsNet Chicago (4/11, 4/12); WGN (4/13)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WLS 890 (Chicago)
Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – right elbow surgery
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – 10-day disabled list (3/30) – right shoulder sprain; on rehab assignment
Jason Kipnis (2B) – 10-day disabled list (4/2) – right shoulder inflammation; on rehab assignment
Juan Minaya (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/30) – abdominal tear
Mike Pelfrey (SP) – signed to minor league deal (4/8)
Jake Petricka (P) – 10-day disabled list (4/5) – left lat strain
Ryan Raburn (OF) – signed to minor league deal (4/8)
Carlos Rodon (SP) – 10-day disabled list (3/30) – left biceps bursitis
Charlie Tilson (OF) – 10-day disabled list (3/30) – stress reaction in right foot
The long time rivalry between the Indians and White Sox enters its 117th season this year.
In 2,139 meetings all-time, the White Sox hold a 1,075-1,047 edge and have outscored the Indians by 33. But when the series comes to Cleveland, the Tribe comes out on top, posting a 556-507 record in those matchups.
Last season, the Indians owned the AL Central and that was no different with the White Sox. Cleveland took 11 of the 19 contests, including a 6-3 mark at Progressive Field. The Sox claimed the last two games of the series to pull that season series closer. The Indians won seven straight against the Pale Hose during one stretch of the season.
There are surprises atop both club’s leaderboard for home runs, as Chicago catcher Geovany Soto and Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor lead their respective squads with three blasts each. Soto hit just four last season in 26 games with the Los Angeles Angels.
Soto is tied for the RBI lead on the White Sox with five. Outfielder Avisail Garcia has joined him with similar production. Lindor leads the club with seven RBI, with four of them riding home on one swing of the bat in the ninth inning of last Wednesday’s contest with the Rangers.
Garcia is also the qualified early leader in the clubhouse in batting average and on-base percentage for Chicago, posting a .474 average (9-for-19) with a .524 OBP. Lindor leads both categories for the Tribe with a .292 average and .357 OBP.
ALWAYS WATCH ABREU
Jose Abreu is up to his usual production for the White Sox. Through his first five games, he is hitting .300 (6-for-20) with a .333 on-base percentage, a double, and three runs batted.
The 30-year-old slugger may not have much time in the Majors, but since debuting to start the 2014 season, he has found himself enjoying the sight of Cleveland pitching. He has a tendency of starting off a little colder in the first two months of the season, which could benefit the Indians some this series, but given his career .319/.376/.590 slash line against Cleveland, it may be a moot point. His 14 career homers against the Tribe are the most he has hit against any one team in his career and his 36 RBI are second to his 38 driven in against the Detroit Tigers. But in an all-or-nothing approach, he has also struck out 56 times against the Indians, the most he has against any one team.
ENCARNACION DEBUTS AT PROGRESSIVE
Edwin Encarnacion will make his long anticipated debut at Progressive Field as a member of the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday afternoon. He comes in with a career .275 average at the park with nine doubles, two homers, and eleven RBI to his credit over 22 career games.
He is off to a bit of a slow start, hitting just .217 with five hits in 23 at bats. One of those hits left the yard against the Rangers in the season opener, driving in his only run batted in through his first six games. He is hitless in 12 plate appearances with runners on base, including 0-for-4 with a walk with runners in scoring position.
There seems to be little doubt that Tribe manager Terry Francona would have Encarnacion in the lineup against the former Texan Holland on Wednesday – he owns a .545 career average against him with three homers and eight RBI over 11 at bats. He has three homers in 31 at bats with 13 RBI against Thursday’s starter Gonzalez.
Chisenhall’s rehab work with the Columbus Clippers was promising as he went 5-for-8 on Friday and Saturday in his first two games of the 2017 season. It included a 4-for-4 game with a stolen base in a loss to the Louisville Bats in his second start. He remained on assignment on Monday as the Clippers faced the Indianapolis Indians, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout, and in a change of plans, was not expected to be activated in time for the home opener.
Kipnis started his own rehab work on Sunday with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks, going 1-for-3 at the plate with a single and a strikeout. Monday night’s action was not quite as fun for the 30-year-old second baseman as he went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
The Indians will continue their homestand over the weekend with three against the Detroit Tigers. The White Sox will head to Minnesota for the middle series of a nine-game road trip.
Photo: Jon Durr/Getty Images