Series Preview #4: Cleveland Indians (5-4) at Chicago White Sox (4-5)

The Cleveland Indians head to the south side of Chicago for the first time this season for a four-game series with the division rival White Sox starting Thursday night.

The Indians finished last season 17-2 against the White Sox and won their last 14 head-to-head matchups. The winning streak for the Tribe includes sweeps in three straight four-game series and a two-game set. They have an eight-game winning streak in the Windy City and won nine of ten there in 2013.

Cleveland won their interleague series with the San Diego Padres after a Monday rainout forced a Wednesday doubleheader. The Indians outlasted the Padres, 8-6, on Tuesday as David Murphy drove in four, scored three times, and had a three-run homer. Nyjer Morgan had three hits and drove in a pair. Zach McAllister was dominant for seven and two-thirds innings and made a two-run home run by Jason Kipnis stand in the first game of Wednesday’s double dip, a 2-0 final. The second game of the twinbill went to the Padres in a 2-1 final, as a solid spot start from Trevor Bauer was spoiled.

Chicago returns home after scoring 20 runs on the road at Coors Field in Denver and having just one win to show for it. They lost on Monday by an 8-1 final, mustering five hits off of Colorado pitching. Their offense erupted on Tuesday for six home runs, including a pair each by Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia, on the way to a 15-3 win. The Rockies took the series on Wednesday afternoon, 10-4, after breaking a four-all tie with a six run eighth inning.

PITCHING PROBABLES

Danny Salazar (0-0, 3.18 ERA) will make his first road start of the season against Chicago’s John Danks (0-0, 3.86) on Thursday. Salazar pitched into the sixth in a no-decision against Minnesota his first time out, allowing two runs. Danks allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings against Kansas City and did not factor in his outing. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.

Carlos Carrasco (0-1, 6.35) will take the center of the diamond on Friday for Cleveland. He took the loss in his first start of the season and has not won in a start since June 29th, 2011. The always-dangerous left-hander Chris Sale (2-0, 1.76) will counter for Chicago at 8:10 PM ET. He limited the Royals to four hits in eight shutout innings, earning his second win on Sunday.

Justin Masterson (0-0, 4.22) will look for win number one on the young season in Saturday’s 2:10 PM ET start. He could not finish the fourth inning in his last start, something he failed to do just one time last season as a starter. Felipe Paulino (0-1, 6.52) will take the ball for the White Sox. The right-hander was shelled for six runs on nine hits and four walks in four and one-third innings in Monday’s loss.

Corey Kluber (1-1, 7.71) will start the finale on Sunday, hoping to use the momentum of a good win over the Padres on Tuesday night as motivation. Jose Quintana (1-0, 2.77) will represent the White Sox on the rubber in the 2:10 PM ET start. The lefty is 2-0 in seven career games against the Indians with a 2.80 ERA.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

Each of the four games of the series will appear on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio. Thursday’s and Sunday’s games will appear on Comcast SportsNet in Chicago, with Friday’s game on WCIU and Saturday’s broadcast on WGN. Radio broadcasts with Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus will be available on the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network. White Sox Radio Network broadcasts are hosted by former Indians and White Sox reliever Ed Farmer and 12-year MLB veteran Darrin Jackson.

TRANSACTIONS and INJURIES

Cleveland announced prior to their doubleheader on Wednesday that fan favorite reliever Vinnie Pestano had been demoted to Triple-A Columbus. Pestano had appeared in three outings, working two and two-thirds of an inning while allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits. Opposing hitters were hitting a team-worst .500 off of him. He was replaced in the bullpen by C.C. Lee. It is the second time Lee has been added to the MLB roster this season.

Third baseman/designated hitter Lonnie Chisenhall has been placed on the Paternity List. Infielder Justin Sellers has been recalled from Columbus.

Michael Bourn is scheduled to continue his rehab assignment on Thursday in Akron with the RubberDucks and is eyeing a Sunday return. Jason Giambi is on pace to start his assignment in Akron on Friday. Both remain on the 15-day disabled list.

Second baseman Gordon Beckham is on the 15-day disabled list for the White Sox. He was sent on a rehab assignment at Double-A Birmingham while trying to come back from a strained left oblique muscle. Closer Nate Jones was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 4th with a strained left hip muscle. Infielder Jeff Keppinger was placed on the disabled list at the end of March as he continues to recover from September 2013 shoulder surgery.

The right fielder Garcia left Wednesday’s game in the sixth inning after jamming his left shoulder while attempting unsuccessfully to make a diving catch in the outfield. He suffered a torn labrum that will require surgery and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Outfielder Jordan Danks, brother of Thursday’s starter John, was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to take his place on the roster.

RANDOM FACTS

The doubleheader between the Padres and Indians on Wednesday was the earliest in the history of Progressive Field.

The White Sox hold the all-time advantage between the two clubs. They have won 1,048 of the contests while the Indians have been victorious in 1,017. The White Sox are 552-477 at home.

Kipnis has hit .297 lifetime against the White Sox with five home runs and 27 RBI. The home run total is tied for his highest against any one opponent and the runs batted in are his second-best mark (40 against Minnesota). In 19 career games at U.S. Cellular Field, he has hit .420 with four of those home runs, six doubles, a triple, and 20 of his RBI. He has batted .385 against Danks with a homer and six RBI.

Carlos Santana has nine hits (all singles) in 21 at bats (.429 batting average) against Sale with no strikeouts. He has reached base in half of his plate appearances against him. The switch-hitter, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Tuesday, leads all of baseball with eleven walks through his first nine games.

Cody Allen is tied for the Major League lead in wins with two. John Axford is tied for the MLB lead in saves with four in four opportunities.

Sale is 2-4 in his career against Cleveland with a 4.71 ERA. He had not lost against the Indians in his first 14 appearances against them until last season, when he was 0-4 in four starts with an 8.61 ERA. He allowed 22 runs in 23 innings pitched. He has limited Michael Brantley to a single and a double, with eight strikeouts, in 18 career plate appearances.

Paul Konerko has been a destroyer of all things Cleveland throughout his career. His 48 home runs against Indians pitching are the second-most against any one opponent (50 versus Minnesota) and his 177 RBI are his most against any one team.

Catcher Tyler Flowers is hitting .444 in the early season, including a 4-for-4 game with four singles against Minnesota on April 3rd.

SECOND LIFE IN THE WINDY CITY

The Chicago White Sox employ several former Tribesmen on their Major League staff.

Manager Robin Ventura has Harold Baines (with Cleveland in 1999) on the club as an assistant hitting coach. Mark Salas (1989) is the club’s bullpen catcher. Former catcher Tim Laker (2001, 2003-2004, 2006 as a player; 2007-2008 as a minor league manager and minor league catching coordinator) is a hitting coordinator. Infield coordinator Ever Magallanes (1991) was drafted by the Indians and played 3 games in the Majors for Cleveland.

Buddy Bell (1972-1978 as a player; 1994-1995 and 2003-2005 as a coach) is the White Sox Vice President. Jim Thome (1991-2002, 2011) is a special assistant to the team. Radio broadcaster Farmer (1971-1972) and television broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson (1969-1971) also represented both clubs on the field.

Dale Torborg, a former minor league ballplayer and one-time professional wrestler, is the conditioning coordinator and the son of former Indians (1977-1979) and White Sox (1989-1991) manager Jeff Torborg.

NEXT UP…

The Indians will have Monday off before starting a three-game series at Comerica Park against the division leading Detroit Tigers. The White Sox will also have Monday off before hosting the Boston Red Sox for three games, beginning on Jackie Robinson Day on Tuesday.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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