Analysis

White Sox Series Preview: Road-Trippin’ with the Indians

The Chicago White Sox (2-3) open their first road series of the 2017 campaign Tuesday afternoon against the Cleveland Indians (3-3). Here is our series preview.  And be sure to check back for the latest preview on the afternoon of the first game of each series this season.

White Sox Preview

Source: Jon Durr/Getty Images North America

The White Sox have scored 22 runs and only allowed 17 over their first five games!! Yeah, buddy!

Not so fast, though. Outside the 11 runs they dropped on the Tigers in the second game, the offense hasn’t been the model of run-scoring efficiency, twice being held to one run. I’m looking at you Todd Frazier. And you, Jacob May. You’re wanted on the stat sheet.

Other than Frazier and May struggling, Avisail Garcia (gah) is having a fine start to the season, amassing a 1.261 OPS over 21 plate appearances. Geovany Soto (.273/.429/1.091, 3 HR) is handling his, as well. Expect a regression for both in short order.

And it will be interesting to see if manager Rick Renteria gives DH Matt Davidson some at-bats against three straight right-handed starters, or if he sticks with left-handed hitting Cody Asche. If you ask me (and you aren’t), a straight platoon at DH is folly. Just ride the bat that’s producing. Right now, that’s Davidson.

From the pitching staff, keep an eye on Nate Jones. Off to a slow start, Jones is in need of a 1-2-3 outing in the worst way. Also watch the efforts from James Shields and Derek Holland. I’m betting against a repeat of their strong starts last week, though anything is possible.

Indians Preview

Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America

After beginning the season with a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers, the Indians rolled into Arizona for a set with the Diamondbacks. To say things didn’t go as planned is an understatement. They were out-pitched, outhit and overwhelmed, losing all three by a combined 15 runs. Sunday’s contest was closer, though that does little to sate concerns.

At the top of that list for Indians fans is the recent stretch Carlos Santana has put together. Overall, the first baseman owns an .845 OPS over 28 at-bats, which isn’t terrible. Over his last 14 plate appearances, however, the switch-hitter has two hits with nary a base on balls and one run scored. Shields and Holland are going to have to keep the ball in on Santana if they hope to keep him stymied. Unfortunately, neither is adept at riding the ball into left-handed hitters.

Also pay attention to how Renteria’s lineup fares against Carrasco and Salazar. Over 17 starts against the White Sox, Carrasco is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA and 1.375 WHIP, while Salazar owns a .250/.337/.399 lifetime slash against over nine starts vs. the South Siders, though his WHIP is an inflated 1.454. Tomlin’s gonna Tomlin, though, so if the White Sox can get to Salazar and Carrasco before getting into the Indians bullpen, they have a chance to take the series.

Where to Watch and Listen

Tuesday: 3:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago

Wednesday: 5:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago

Thursday: 5:10 p.m., WGN

*All games on WLS-AM 890

Probable Pitchers

Tuesday: RHP James Shields (1-0, 1.69 ERA) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-0, 3.18 ERA)

Wednesday: LHP Derek Holland (0-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (0-0, 6.35 ERA)

Thursday: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Josh Tomlin (0-1, 11.57 ERA)

Series Prediction

*In which I take random stabs at calling the result ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.

Tuesday: Carrasco maintains his dominance against the White Sox. Shields returns to the man we know and loathe. Sox lose.

Wednesday: The White Sox offense breaks out against Salazar. Dutch holds his own. Sox win.

Thursday: Tomlin gives up three home runs and walks six. Gonzo continues to demonstrate the Orioles give up on pitchers way too early.  Sox take the series!!

 

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