It’s out with the old Red Sox and in with some new White Sox as the Cleveland Indians host Chicago for the second of three times this season and the first time at Progressive Field since the middle of June.
The Indians (66-49) dropped a close one on Monday to the Boston Red Sox, with the tying and go-ahead runs on base with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, but the lineup was unable to drive the runs across the plate. The loss came on the heels of a four-game sweep of the scuffling Los Angeles Angels, who left town on a ten-game losing streak and made it eleven with a loss at home to Seattle on Monday. Cleveland is fighting to keep pace with the Texas Rangers (70-50) for the top record in the American League as the penultimate month of the regular season is already halfway gone.
Chicago (56-61) has slipped into fourth place with their recent play. They are 27-35 on the season on the road and just 19-27 within the AL Central. The Indians, for comparison’s sake because it is fun, are 31-16 against the Central with 29 more games left in the division.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
It will be a battle of All-Star substitute pitchers on Tuesday night as Quintana looks to expand on a 5-2 record and 2.68 ERA in 16 games against the Indians throughout his career. He has treated Progressive Field like a second home in seven games in his career, posting two wins and no losses with a 1.17 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. In his 12 wins this season, Kluber has dominated, throwing three complete games and two shutouts while earning a 1.27 ERA and 0.70 WHIP. One of those wins this season came against the White Sox, as he allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits with nine strikeouts in seven and one-third innings of work.
Wednesday, 8/17, 7:10 PM ET – TBD vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 3.21)
The White Sox had not formally announced a spot starter for Miguel Gonzalez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week. Carrasco’s career numbers have shown nothing but struggles against the White Sox. In 15 games (14 starts), he has a 3-8 career record with a 5.45 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Despite the bad trend, he had a quality outing in his lone start against them this season, allowing two runs over seven and one-third innings in a no-decision.
Rodon has fared well in his career versus the Indians, the team that he broke into the league against. In three starts at Progressive Field, he has a pair of wins and a 1.31 ERA. For his career, he is a perfect 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in six games (five starts). Salazar will make his triumphant return from the disabled list on Thursday to start against Chicago. His best numbers in the AL Central Division have come against the White Sox, who he has defeated five times in eight career starts with a 3.19 ERA.
TV (Tuesday) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; CSN-C (Chicago)
TV (Wednesday) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; WPWR (Chicago)
TV (Thursday) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; CSN-C (Chicago); MLB Network (out of market)
Radio (all games) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WLS 890 (Chicago)
Michael Brantley (LF) – out for season (May 10) – right shoulder inflammation, right biceps tendinitis
Joe Colon (RP) – activated from 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Columbus (August 15)
Yan Gomes (C) – 15-day disabled list (July 17) – separated right shoulder
Tommy Hunter (RP) – 15-day disabled list (July 16) – non-displaced lower back fracture
Danny Salazar (SP) – 15-day disabled list (August 2) – right elbow discomfort, expected to be activated 8/18.
Alex Avila (C) – 15-day disabled list (July 6) – re-aggravated right hamstring strain
Matt Davidson (3B) – 60-day disabled list (July 1) – recovery from July 2016 right foot surgery
Avisail Garcia (OF) – 15-day disabled list (August 7) – right knee sprain
Miguel Gonzalez (SP) – 15-day disabled list (August 12) – right groin strain
Austin Jackson (OF) – 15-day disabled list (June 10) – medial meniscus tear, left knee surgery
Brett Lawrie (3B) – 15-day disabled list (July 22) – left hamstring strain; on rehab assignment
Jake Petricka (P) – out for season (May 2) – 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 (August 3) – recovery from August 2016 left hamstring surgery
Daniel Webb (RP) – out for season (April 29) – recovery from June 2016 Tommy John surgery
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
In nine matchups this season, the Indians have claimed seven wins from the White Sox, outscoring the southsiders 50-27. It has provided Cleveland with its second-best record this season against an AL Central foe.
The two teams split a three-game set in the second series of the season, with nature claiming the third game. They met again at US Cellular Field in May, with the Indians winning the last three of the four-game matchup. In their only meeting at Progressive Field this season, the Indians swept the Sox from June 17 through 19, winning a pair of walk-off victories to start and end the series. The three wins started the Indians’ 14-game winning streak and gave Cleveland six straight wins over Chicago.
ABREU ALWAYS GOOD AGAINST THE TRIBE
First baseman Jose Abreu has easily been the most productive hitter for the Sox against the Indians this season. He has started all nine games between the two clubs this season and is hitting .382 with a .447 on-base percentage and .706 slugging mark. More than half of his hits have fallen in for extra bases (five doubles, two homers) and he is tied for the team lead in RBI against the Indians with five. He is the only active White Sox player to hit higher than .233 against Cleveland this season.
Throughout his brief Major League career, he has slugged more homers against Cleveland (13) than any other team and owns a lifetime .326 average with a .380 OBP and .634 slugging mark. The third-year man and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is hitting .282 this season with 27 doubles, 14 homers, and 65 RBI in what has been a slightly down year for the right-handed slugger.
CABRERA MAKES HIMSELF AT HOME IN CLEVELAND
When Melky Cabrera has put the ball in play, he has done damage to the Tribe. Despite a .233 batting average in nine games this season, he has driven in five, tied with Abreu for the most on the club this season.
He has hit .268 throughout his career against the Indians, but when the contests have taken place at Progressive Field, his numbers have jumped. In 36 career games in Cleveland, he owns a lifetime .326 average with nine homers and 27 RBI. He has a double and a solo homer this season to his credit and slugged three homers and drove in ten at Progressive Field last season.
The recently turned 32-year-old is hitting .299 for the season with 27 doubles, four triples, nine homers, and 54 RBI.
Todd Frazier has played in 13 games at Progressive Field and has three hits to his credit, giving him a .128 average in his career. Against the Indians as whole, he has hit just .172 in 28 career games with a pair of homers and six RBI. Both homers and half of the run production has come this season.
Frazier is third in the American League this season with 31 homers (averaging one every 13.5 at bats) and is sixth with five sacrifice flies. He has added a .210 average, just 12 doubles, and 72 runs driven in for the season.
HOME IS WHERE THE PARTY IS AT
Mike Napoli leads the Indians with three homers and ten RBI this season against Chicago. He has a .286 batting average and a .382 OBP against them.
His season numbers have been steadily on the rise, thanks to a career-high 15-game hitting streak that he extended in Monday’s loss to Boston. Through 109 games, he is hitting .266 with 20 doubles, 29 homers, and 84 RBI. Even better than his season numbers has been his production in Cleveland, where he has hit .325 with 19 of his homers and 58 RBI, the latter two of which are tops on the club.
LINDOR AVOIDS SOPHOMORE SLUMP
There has been no sophomore slump this season for Francisco Lindor, who has remained one of the key ingredients to the Indians’ success this season. He has been a staple in the lineup throughout the year, leading the team with 115 games played in 2016. He is also tops on the club in hits and runs scored and continues to lead all of baseball with eleven sacrifice flies on the season.
His modest nine-game hitting streak came to an end on Sunday in the win over Los Angeles. Against Chicago in eight games this season, Lindor is hitting .333 (10-for-30) with three RBI. All ten of his hits have been singles.
RAMIREZ THE MAN IN THE CLUTCH
Jose Ramirez has caught the eye of more than a few fans of baseball this season for his play on the field and especially at the plate. After an 18-game hitting streak that ended on Monday plumped up his average, he is hitting .311 for the season with 30 doubles, the top mark on the team. He has also picked off 19 bases in 25 attempts, trailing only Rajai Davis’ 32 for the team lead in thefts.
In high leverage situations this season, Ramirez is hitting.382 with 19 RBI in 77 plate appearances. With two outs and runners in scoring position, he is batting .429 with a homer, six doubles, and 24 RBI, and with runners in scoring position in general, he has hit .385.
Against Chicago this season, he is hitting .294 with a .368 OBP, two doubles, two homers, and four RBI. He leads the club with nine runs scored in the nine contests that he has played in.
BRANTLEY ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY AGAIN
The Indians issued an update on the status of left fielder Brantley, who underwent surgery on his problematic right shoulder and bicep. He underwent a 45-minute surgery, called a bicep tenodesis, that addressed his chronic biceps tendinitis in his shoulder. The operating doctors confirmed through the procedure that his repaired labrum has remained intact and that the shoulder joint itself look good.
Brantley is expected to make a full recovery from the procedure over the next four months.
WHO’S GOT NEXT?
The party will go on for the Tribe, who will be hoping to be carrying a winning record on this current homestand into their series against the Toronto Blue Jays, who are charging hard in the AL East and trail the Baltimore Orioles by just one-thousandth of a point prior to Tuesday’s action. The White Sox will return home to start a lengthy homestand to close out the month, beginning first with three games with the Oakland Athletics.
Photo: Eric Espada/Getty Images