Game #46: Cleveland Indians (26-19) at Chicago White Sox (24-22)

By Mike Brandyberry

What a difference a day makes for the Cleveland Indians. Yesterday, the Indians were coming off a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, holding a three and one-half game lead over the Chicago White Sox and playing well. A solid weekend series could put distance between the Tribe and the rest of the American League Central Division before Memorial Day. Today, the Indians are hoping to have enough healthy bodies to field a team for this afternoon’s contest.

Prior to yesterday’s game the Indians announced that Travis Hafner did not travel with the team to Chicago for the weekend series. He would remain home to receive treatment on his right medial meniscus cartilage. The knee was irritated in his first at bat during Wednesday’s game against Detroit. He proceeded to play on the knee for the next two days. Trainer Lonnie Soloff said they would treat the knee over the weekend, then evaluate their options moving forward. If the knee does not respond, Hafner could be headed to the disabled list for an extended stay.

Then during Friday’s 9-3 loss to the White Sox, Asdrubal Cabrera had to leave the game after six innings with left hamstring tightness. The injury bug would bite again when Carlos Santana would be hit in the mask with a foul tip and suffer concussion like symptoms in the eighth inning. Luke Carlin has had his contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus and is active today. Santana has been placed on the 7-day disabled list, reserved for concussion injuries. Cabrera is still day-to-day, but expected to miss 2-3 games. However, in the meantime the Tribe will find themselves without their 3-4-5 hitters in an offense that is already inconsistent.

The ailing offense will receive no favors on the mound as they will be forced to match up against the White Sox Jake Peavy (5-1, 2.39 ERA). Peavy earned the victory over the Indians on May 9 when he pitched seven strong innings, allowing seven hits, one run and five strikeouts.

The Indians will counter with their best pitcher of the young season, Derek Lowe (6-2, 2.15 ERA). Lowe is looking to rebound from only his second defeat of the season from last Sunday when the Miami Marlins issued him a 5-3 defeat. Lowe will look to continue to throw sinkers and induce groundballs like he has all season. The 141 groundballs he has induced this season is 22 more than any other pitcher in MLB.

Chicago-native Jason Kipnis has thrived when returning home to U.S. Cellular Field. Kipnis reached base safely three out of four times last night and stole second base twice. He is 10-for-21 (.476) with three extra base hits in six career games in Chicago. He may need the same offensive outbutst today to carry the Tribe.

The Indians and their ailing offense will look to steal a game from the White Sox this afternoon at 4:10, eastern time. The game can be seen on SportsTime Ohio and heard on the Indians Radio Network. Scott Bailes joins Jim Rosenhaus on the radio for the second straight game, replacing Tom Hamilton who is watching his son play in the Mid-American Conference baseball tournament.

Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Michael Brantley, CF
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Jose Lopez, DH
5. Casey Kotchman, 1B
6. Johnny Damon, LF
7. Jack Hannahan, 3B
8. Juan Diaz, SS
9. Lou Marson, C

Chicago White Sox Starting Lineup
1. Alejandro De Aza, CF
2. Gordon Beckham, 2B
3. Adam Dunn, DH
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Alex Rios, RF
6. A.J. Pierzynski, C
7. Dayan Viciedo, LF
8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
9. Orlando Hudson, 3B

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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