After not seeing each other for the first time this year until the very final days of May, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox will meet up for the third time in the last seven series when the two clubs kick off a three-game series from Progressive Field on Monday night.
The Indians (37-33) will presumably be excited to face a different divisional foe this week, as they have had no answers for the Minnesota Twins this season, especially over their last two series against one another. The Tribe dropped two of three to the Twinkies over the weekend, avoiding the sweep with a strong 4-1 win on Sunday afternoon, as rookie right-hander Shane Bieber earned his first win with a tightrope act on the mound and his battery mate Yan Gomes drove in three with a bases loaded double in the third. The Indians come into the weekday series with a two and a half game lead over the Detroit Tigers for second place in the AL Central.
The White Sox (24-46) have dropped four straight games after being swept at home by the Tigers over the weekend. They had been playing better ball of late, as the set with the Tigers marked their first series in the month that they came away with a losing record. This included a four-game series with the Indians last week, when the two clubs split their matchup at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox will look to overcome their general woes in the AL Central, as they have been the worst of the five teams against divisional rivals, going 11-21 on the year.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Covey has put up some of the best numbers on the Sox’s pitching staff so far this year, but has made just six MLB starts while spending the early portion of the season at Triple-A Charlotte. He has won each of his last three decisions since being recalled in late May, including a good effort against the Indians on last Wednesday. He took the win despite allowing ten hits on the day in seven innings, but he limited Cleveland to just two runs scored while striking out five and walking zero. In each of his previous two outings, he did not give up an earned run in eleven combined innings. Monday will be his third start of the season against Cleveland – he took a no-decision after allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in four and one-third innings back on May 28.
Bauer has been a strikeout machine of late and was able to do that in his last start against the White Sox on Wednesday when he struck out 12 batters in seven and two-thirds innings in a loss. He was charged with three runs on four hits while walking a pair and throwing 118 pitches on the game. He has averaged 12 strikeouts per start in his last four outings dating back to May 27. This will be the second time this season that Bauer faces the White Sox – he is 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP against them in 15 career games.
The 25-year-old Rodon will make his third start of the season and second straight against the Indians after pitching in the series finale against them on Thursday. He came away with a no-decision after allowing just two runs on two hits in five innings, but he walked three on the day and exited after 100 pitches thrown. He has excelled against the Indians in his four big league seasons, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.43 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in eleven career games to date. He has not earned a win against them, however, since 2016.
Clevinger is coming off of a win against Chicago in his last start on Thursday as he led the Indians to a split against the White Sox. He struck out a career-high eleven batters in seven innings of work, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while walking just one. Command has been an ongoing issue for Clevinger, who has struggled to minimize walks at times. He has earned a pair of wins against the White Sox this season, allowing just three runs (two earned) in 13 2/3 innings of work, giving up nine hits, striking out 18, and walking three in that span.
Lopez was the lone White Sox hurler not to appear in the previous four-gamer between the two clubs. The 24-year-old right-hander will have a tough matchup with Kluber, but he has fired three straight quality starts in June after a few rough outings in May. One of those starts came against the Indians at Progressive Field on May 30, when he was tagged for seven runs on eight hits in just two and two-thirds innings in his second-shortest start of the year. He has faced the Tribe twice in his career and lost both games.
Kluber reminded fans a little bit of just how spoiled they have been over the last few years, as his start on Friday against Minnesota resulted in what was deemed a bad start and a loss. He worked five innings and allowed just four runs on four hits, but he was described as not being Kluber-like throughout the game. He struck out just three batters, his fewest since the season finale of last season. It ended a streak of 14 straight quality starts for the veteran right-hander. He has faced the White Sox once this season on May 30, earning a win behind six shutout innings of three-hit baseball. He struck out ten in the game, his most recent double digit strikeout game this year.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); NBCSCH+ (6/18); WGN (6/19); NBCSCH (6/20)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (CLE); WGN 720 (CHI)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Greg Allen (OF) – optioned to Triple-A Columbus (6/18)
Yonder Alonso (1B) – activated from Family Medical Emergency list (6/18)
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery
Shane Bieber (SP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (6/17)
Carlos Carrasco (SP) – 10-day disabled list (6/17) – right elbow contusion
Nick Goody (RP) – transferred to 60-day disabled list (5/31) – right elbow inflammation (since 5/3)
Evan Marshall (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (6/17)
Ryan Merritt (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – left knee sprain
Andrew Miller (RP) – 10-day disabled list (5/26) – right knee inflammation
Tyler Olson (RP) – 10-day disabled list (6/17) – left latissimus dorsi strain
Marc Rzepczynski (RP) – signed to a minor league contract (6/18) and assigned to Triple-A Columbus
Danny Salazar (P) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – right shoulder rotator cuff tendonitis; shut down
Welington Castillo (C) – restricted list – serving 80-game PED suspension
Nicky Delmonico (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/19) – fractured right metacarpal
Danny Farquhar (RP) – 60-day disabled list (4/21) – brain aneurysm
Avisail Garcia (OF) – 10-day disabled list (4/24) – strained right hamstring; on rehab assignment
Leury Garcia (UTL) – 10-day disabled list (5/24) – left knee sprain; on rehab assignment
Miguel Gonzalez (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/19) – right rotator cuff inflammation
Nate Jones (RP) – 10-day disabled list (6/13) – pronator muscle strain in right arm
SOX STATS AND NOTES
Kevan Smith has been on a tear at the plate for the White Sox, hitting safely in nine straight games while batting .441 (15-for-34) with three RBI. He was only recently recalled by Chicago from Charlotte earlier in the month, where he had spent the majority of the year after a sprained right ankle prevented him from opening the season with the club.
Yoan Moncada’s woes at the dish have continued since last seeing the Indians. In his last seven games, he is just 2-for-24 (.083) with a solo homer and 12 strikeouts. The struggles at the plate are not just limited to the last week, as he has hit just .167 with a .220 on-base percentage in the last 30 days (29 games). On the year, he is batting .221 with a .295 on-base percentage with 12 doubles, two triples, nine homers, and 23 RBI.
Matt Davidson is taking an all-or-nothing approach at the plate over the last week. In his last 23 at bats, he has seven hits (.304 average), but has struck out in 12 of the other trips. He has struck out 77 times this season, second only to Moncada’s 97 for the team lead. He leads the club in homers with 12 and is second in RBI with 31.
Tim Anderson leads the club with 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He is second in homers with 11 and is fourth in RBI with 27.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
The Indians’ offense has gone cold in the warmer June weather. In 15 games, they have scored just 53 runs, just one month after putting up an MLB-leading 179 over 28 games. The Jekyll and Hyde bats are in the bottom half of the league in nearly every offensive stat, with the exception of steals (they are 15-for-15 in the month and are tied with Boston for the league lead).
Tyler Naquin is your active leader in the American League with an eleven-game hitting streak (tied with Tommy Pham of the St. Louis Cardinals for the MLB lead currently). He has hit .394 during that 33 AB stretch dating back prior to his injury, recording 13 hits and driving in eight runs.
Francisco Lindor is at the top of the AL leaderboard in a handful of statistics. He is third in at bats (291) and doubles (23); fourth in runs scored (53) and total bases (39); fifth in hits (84); and tied for tenth in homers (16).
Jose Ramirez is just two off of the pace of Minnesota’s Eduardo Escobar for the most extra base hits in the AL with 42. He is tied for tenth in doubles with 20 and is third in the league (behind Mike Trout and J.D. Martinez) with his 21 home runs.
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
The bizarre work of the schedule makers this season sends the White Sox right back home after their brief three-game road trip to Cleveland is concluded. Fresh off of a seven-day homestand, the Sox will play another seven in an eight-day span, giving them 14 home dates (and an off day) in a 18-day span. They host Oakland and Minnesota for four games and three games, respectively, upon their return home.
The Indians will stay put at Progressive Field for the final series of their homestand, as they will host the Detroit Tigers on Friday night in a three-game series before an unusual St. Louis-Oakland-Kansas City road trip.
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