After finding their bats on Thursday night, the Cleveland Indians will hope to keep the offense alive in a three-game series in Chicago this weekend against the rival and upstart White Sox.
The Indians (8-6) got themselves back on track after a tough four-game series in Minnesota resulted in a 1-3 record and an absolute absence of offense. After dropping their series opener with the Reds on Monday, the Indians won each of the final three games of the series, using a pair of shutouts and a massive outburst from the bats to rack up 13 runs in the series finale on Thursday night.
The White Sox (7-6) were in a bad place after losing two of three to Cleveland a week and a half ago, but they have gotten themselves back on track. They won six straight games, beginning with the finale of their series in Cleveland, including all three games of their set in Kansas City against the Royals, and each of the first two games of their series in Milwaukee against the Brewers. Milwaukee nabbed the final two games of the four-game set to split that series while dropping the Sox a half game behind the Indians in the American League Central standings.
Civale has looked strong through his first two outings to open his 2020 campaign, showing no signs of any sophomoric slump in his second big league campaign. He faced the White Sox in his first start of the season and limited them to two runs on seven hits over six innings while striking out a career-high nine. He matched that strikeout mark in a loss to the Twins on August 2, when he made another quality appearance while allowing three runs on five hits without issuing a walk in a tough loss.
Cease was roughed up last week during the team’s doubleheader with the Indians in his season debut, but he responded nicely with a quality start and his first win in his last outing. He gave up four runs to the Tribe on seven hits in just two and one-third innings in his first start of the year, taking the loss, but he gave Chicago six quality innings on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals. He gave up two runs in that start on five hits, walking one and striking out four.
Saturday, August 8, 2:10 PM ET
RHP Zach Plesac (0-1, 1.80) vs. TBD
Plesac has been a pleasant surprise in the Tribe rotation after winning the fifth starter spot out of camp. He made his second straight quality start but once again was the victim of no run support from the Tribe bats. In Monday’s loss to the Reds, he worked seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits with a walk and six strikeouts. He faced the White Sox in his first start of the season, working eight three-hit shutout innings with no walks and a career-high eleven strikeouts.
The White Sox have not formally announced a starter for Game Two of the series. Injuries have removed two different starters from the rotation, leaving Chicago with a void to fill.
Bieber has been one of the best in the game through three starts this year. He fell just short of establishing a new record for strikeouts through three outings in his last start against the Reds on Tuesday, as he earned a win after allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in seven and two-thirds innings. His 35 Ks in three starts are easily the most in franchise history and have come over a span of 21 2/3 innings while walking just three batters.
Giolito, 26, has bounced back nicely after a rough season-opening start against the Twins on July 24, when he got eleven outs and allowed seven earned runs. He worked six shutout innings against Cleveland on July 29, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out six. He struck out a season-high nine and earned his first win of the year in his last start on Tuesday in Milwaukee, giving up two earned runs on four hits with three walks in six innings for his second straight quality start.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all), NBCSCH+ (8/7), NBCSCH (8/8-8/9) MLB Network (8/8 – out-of-market), MLB.tv
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network; ESPN 1000, WGN 720, WRTO 1200 (Chicago)
HEAD TO HEAD
At the beginning of last week, the Indians hosted the White Sox for the first time in 2020. After a rainout in the series opener on Monday, July 27, the Indians swept a doubleheader the next day. The series finale came down to the final inning, when Chicago tallied four off of closer Brad Hand to snatch a 4-0 victory to avoid the sweep. The Indians were outscored by the White Sox, 10-9, in the three-game series.
The two clubs will meet just one more time in 2020 when the White Sox come back to Progressive Field in the final week of the season for four games in downtown Cleveland.
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Greg Allen (OF) – optioned to team’s alternate training site (8/6)
Christian Arroyo (UTL) – designated for assignment (8/6)
Delino DeShields (OF) – activated from 10-day injured list (8/6)
Daniel Johnson (OF) – optioned to team’s alternate training site (8/6)
Tyler Naquin (OF) – 10-day injured list (7/21); right big toe fracture
Roberto Perez (C) – 10-day injured list (7/29) – right shoulder strain
Cameron Rupp (C) – signed to minor league deal, invited to alternate training site (8/3)
Tim Anderson (SS) – 10-day injured list (8/1) – strained right groin
Luis Alexander Basabe (CF) – designated for assignment (8/4)
Nicky Delmonico (OF) – optioned to team’s alternate training site (8/6)
Kelvin Herrera (RP) – released (8/2)
Jared Kelley (P) – invited to team’s alternate training site (8/1)
Brady Lail (P) – contract selected from team’s alternate training site (8/4)
Jimmy Lambert (P) – 45-day injured list (8/3) – right forearm strain
Reynaldo Lopez (SP) – 10-day injured list (7/27) – right shoulder soreness
Nick Madrigal (2B) – 10-day injured list (8/5) – separated left shoulder
Nomar Mazara (OF) – activated from 10-day injured list (8/3)
Yermin Mercedes (C) – optioned to team’s alternate training site (8/3)
Carlos Rodon (SP) – 10-day injured list (8/4) – left shoulder soreness
SOX NEWS AND NOTES:
Luis Robert will be a player to watch out for, not just this series, but for many years to come. The highly touted rookie centerfielder has been on a tear since touching a Major League diamond for the first time and has been hitting the cover off of the ball at the plate. In 13 games, he has posted a .327/.386/.500 slash with three doubles, two homers, and six RBI. He has also been the only threat on the base paths for the Sox and manager Rick Renteria, as his four stolen bases in five attempts are the only swipes tried by Chicago this season. Robert was 4-for-12 with four singles, two RBI, and six strikeouts against the Indians the first time around.
The Indians were able to largely avoid seeing Eloy Jimenez in the previous series in Cleveland while he dealt with concussion symptoms. When able to play in eleven games this year, he has hit .268 with two doubles, three homers, and eight RBI.
You can never get too comfortable around the slugging Jose Abreu, even as he moves closer towards the back end of his career. He has hit three doubles and a pair of homers on the year while driving in eight, tied with Leury Garcia, Yasmani Grandal, and Jimenez for the team lead. Abreu was 4-for-12 (.333) against the Indians last week, hitting two doubles and a homer while driving in a pair.
The Indians will be glad to miss Anderson during this trip to Chicago while he is on the injured list. He was 6-for-13 (.462) in three games in Cleveland with four extra base hits.
TRIBE NEWS AND NOTES
Sandy Alomar Jr. will remain the team’s interim manager this weekend as manager Terry Francona (illness) will stay back in Cleveland during the road trip. There is no timetable for Francona’s return to the dugout, but the team is expected to talk further on his situation on Monday. The Indians are 3-2 under Alomar Jr. since he took over the managerial duties on Sunday.
Cesar Hernandez has been a pleasant addition to the Tribe lineup this season. He has reached safely in all 13 games that he has played this year while serving as the leadoff hitter in the lineup, contributing a .319/.429/.383 slash at the plate with three doubles and six RBI. He is currently in his second five-game hitting streak of the season. He has gotten on base at least twice in eight games.
Jose Ramirez got going again this week, hitting three extra base hits in the finale on Thursday, including homers from both sides of the plate to give him a team-leading four. He has hit .308 with a .400 on-base percentage and .615 slugging mark with a team-high eleven RBI this season. He was 5-for-11 (.455) against the White Sox in the team’s first matchups this year.
Carlos Santana may welcome the sight of White Sox pitching. He hit .500 against them (5-for-10) during the first series against them this season with four singles and a homer.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
In a move that makes little sense while trying to limit travel during the pandemic, the Indians will head back home after the series to take on the Chicago Cubs in the first two of four matchups between the clubs this season. The team will have off days both before and after the series, the first scheduled days off of the season for the Tribe. The Indians will then head back out on the road and will not return to Cleveland until a homestand beginning August 21 against Detroit.
The White Sox will head to Detroit following the series with the Indians for three games against the Tigers beginning Monday night.
Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images