Indians Look to Add to Big Winning Streak with Four-Game Set in Windy City
Bob Toth | On 04, Sep 2017
The Cleveland Indians appear to be in postseason form, which does not bode well for the last place Chicago White Sox as the Tribe visits Guaranteed Rate Field for four games this week.
The Indians (80-56) have won a season-high eleven straight games and have started their eleven-game road trip with a 7-0 start. A three-game sweep of the New York Yankees in the Bronx was followed by the Indians’ first ever four-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit. The hot stretch has helped Cleveland open up a nine-game lead in the American League Central over the Minnesota Twins. The Tribe’s magic number has been reduced to 18 in the process. In addition to their eleven-game winning streak, the Indians have won 16 of their last 20 and 22 of their last 30.
The White Sox (54-81) have had a predictably tough season from their home in the south side of Chicago. Any one loss to the Indians this week will officially eliminate them from the American League Central race, although that has long since been a moot point for the scuffling Sox. They got back into the win column by claiming victories over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday and Sunday to claim a series win. They have won three of their last four series overall, going back two weeks.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Bauer is riding a seven-game winning streak on the mound as he has surprisingly been one of the most consistent Tribe starters over the course of the second half of the season. He wrapped up a perfect 5-0 August in six starts with a victory in New York over the Yankees on August 30, allowing a run over six innings of work while minimizing four free passes surrendered. Monday’s start against the White Sox will be his first of the season against Chicago. He last started against them on September 23 of a season ago, earning a win behind seven and two-thirds innings of work. He allowed four runs on seven hits in that 10-4 Tribe win.
Shields wrapped up a winless August (and ten straight starts in total) with a loss in his last outing on August 29 against Minnesota. Making his second consecutive start against the Twins, he allowed four runs on five hits in five innings, but also walked five batters in the loss. He has been plagued by the long ball of late, giving up nine homers in his last six outings. He took a no-decision in his only start against Cleveland this year back in the second week of the season when he allowed just one run on two hits over five and one-third innings. He has not earned a win against the Indians since April 22, 2014.
Salazar will be activated from the 10-day disabled list to make his return to the Tribe’s starting rotation on Tuesday in his first start since August 20. In that outing, he was tagged for a season-high 12 hits and six runs in just four and two-thirds innings in earning his first loss since May 27. He has faced the White Sox three times in a starting capacity this season, earning a win and two losses along the way. In his last start against them on July 28, he gave the Tribe a quality start with six innings of two-run baseball while striking out eight Sox hitters.
Holmberg will make his first start since June 26 in the second game of the series, ending a string of 18 straight relief appearances for the 26-year-old left-hander. It will be his second start of the season and of his career against the Indians. His first was a good one, as he threw five innings of three-hit baseball, allowing two runs and striking out four in earning the victory.
Carrasco was dealt a tough no-decision his last time out on September 1, as the bullpen could not hold a 2-1 lead after he exited. Carrasco worked seven innings in that outing in Detroit, allowing a run on six hits with no walks and eight strikeouts, giving him six straight starts with at least six strikeouts on the mound. He has been effective against Chicago this season, earning two wins and taking one no-decision in three outings. He has posted back-to-back victories against them, including his last start against the Sox on June 11 when he allowed two runs on seven hits in five and one-third innings.
Lopez will make his second start since being activated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday from a strained back. His first outing back, a quality six innings of three run baseball with seven strikeouts against Tampa Bay, resulted in his four straight loss (dating back to August of 2016). It will be the first career start against the Indians for the 23-year-old right-hander, who came to Chicago from Washington in the offseason as part of the return for outfielder Adam Eaton.
Kluber was rewarded on Sunday with the American League’s Pitcher of the Month award for a dominant August on the mound. He went 5-1 in six starts last month, posting two complete games, a 1.96 ERA, and a 0.63 WHIP. He built off of his strong August showing with another solid performance in Detroit over the weekend, giving up just one run in eight innings to post his 14th win of the season. He has faced the White Sox three times this season, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.95 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. He has struck out 29 batters, walked five, and given up 19 hits in that span (1.13 WHIP).
Rodon will make his second start of the season against the Indians and will look to build off of what was a positive effort in that previous outing on July 30 despite a no-decision. He struck out nine Indians hitters in six and two-thirds innings in a quality start, allowing just one run on six hits with a pair of walks. It will be just his 13th start this season, as he did not make his season debut for the White Sox until June 28 after starting the year on the disabled list. His last start was one of his shortest of the season, but to no fault of his own as a lengthy rain delay ran him after just four innings of work. He allowed just a run on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts in that no-decision against Tampa Bay.
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); WGN (9/4, 9/7); CSN-C+ (9/5); CSN-C (9/6)
Radio (all) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WRTO 1200, WLS 890 (Chicago)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NEWS
Cody Anderson (SP) – out for season – right elbow surgery
Dylan Baker (P) – 60-day disabled list (9/1) – undisclosed
Michael Brantley (LF) – 10-day disabled list (8/9) – right ankle sprain
Jason Kipnis (2B) – 10-day disabled list (8/23) – right hamstring strain
Boone Logan (RP) – 60-day disabled list (7/20) – left lat muscle
Andrew Miller (RP) – 10-day disabled list (8/22) – patellofemoral syndrome
Danny Salazar (SP) – 10-day disabled list (8/21) – right elbow inflammation
Nick Delmonico (DH) – 10-day disabled list (8/26) – right wrist sprain
Leury Garcia (OF) – 10-day disabled list (9/2) – sprained right thumb
Willy Garcia (OF) – 10-day disabled list (8/10) – recovery from August 2017 broken jaw surgery
Nate Jones (RP) – out for season – recovery from July 2017 right elbow surgery
Rymer Liriano (OF) – contract selected from Triple-A Charlotte (9/2)
Yoan Moncada (2B) – 10-day disabled list (8/25) – right shin contusion
Zach Putnam (RP) – out for season – recovery from June 2017 Tommy John surgery
Geovany Soto (C) – 60-day disabled list (5/8) – recovery from May 2017 right elbow surgery
Charlie Tilson (OF) – 60-day disabled list (3/30) – stress reaction in right foot
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
Jose Abreu returned to the lineup over the weekend after dealing with some elbow discomfort. He is the White Sox leading hitter in several offensive categories this season, including homers (27), doubles (36), and RBI (82). He is second to Avisail Garcia (.325) with a .301 batting average on the year.
Garcia has been a productive member of the Sox lineup when healthy and on the roster. He has hit .325 this season (the second-best mark in the American League) with a .373 on-base percentage and is near the top of several of the team’s offensive stats, including doubles (22), homers (14), and RBI (64). His ten-game hitting streak came to an end on Sunday in the White Sox’s win over the Rays. He has put up a healthy .361/.419/.492 triple slash since the All-Star break.
Matt Davidson, who has put up more runs (11 RBI) against the Indians than any other team he has suited up against this season, has cooled off in the second half. He has hit just .185 over 25 games with three doubles, five homers, and 13 RBI while striking out 31 times and drawing just four walks in that span. For the year, he is second on the White Sox in homers with 23. He is in an 0-for-15 slump at the plate.
INDIANS IN DEPTH
Edwin Encarnacion has made up for a slow start to his season with a big display of power in the second half for the Tribe. He leads the Indians in second half homers (14) and RBI (34) and has drawn 40 walks in 48 games, tallying three more free passes than hits since the break.
Francisco Lindor has added two more homers to his career-best totals over the course of the last week. His homer on Sunday in Detroit gave him 26 for the season, pushing him past Asdrubal Cabrera for the most homers in a season by an Indians shortstop.
Yandy Diaz has hit in six straight games for the Indians.
An incredible weekend in Detroit has pushed Jose Ramirez‘s batting average up to .310 on the year. His five extra base hits in Sunday’s 11-1 win was just the 13th time in MLB history that a player had accomplished the feat. It pushed his season total for homers to 22 and his 47 doubles lead the Majors.
With another long road trip in the books, the Indians will return home to Progressive Field for a ten-game homestand, starting with three against the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend. The Tigers and Kansas City Royals will visit for three and four, respectively, next week.
The White Sox will continue their ten-game homestand over the weekend, hosting the San Francisco Giants in a three-game series.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images