The Chicago White Sox (7-7) return home to face the Cleveland Indians (8-7) for a three-game set. 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
So the Sox return to Guaranteed Rate Field after a 5-4 road trip to Cleveland, Minnesota and New York. All in all, can’t really complain with the results. Avisail Garcia continued his hot hitting. Miguel Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the fifth against the Yankees. David Robertson was 3-for-3 in save opportunities. Melky Cabrera (his wife, actually) had a kid. Wasn’t a bad roadie at all.
On to the upcoming series where the club has its work cut out, particularly from a starting pitching perspective. Jose Quintana, for example, has a lifetime .280/.339/.424 slash line against with Michael Brantley (4 2B, 6 RBI, 1.410 OPS) absolutely owning him. James Shields has held Indians hitters to a .309 OBP against, but gives up big hits in big situations and has a lifetime .400 slugging percentage against their lineup. Holland has his own problems, particularly with Edwin Encarnacion (18 AB, 3 HR, 1.450 OPS).
On the plus side of the ledger is the offense. Carlos Carrasco has a .294/.324/.544 slash line against the White Sox over his career. Jose Abreu has three home runs in 19 at-bats vs. Danny Salazar. And, Corey Kluber is off to another slow start, allowing five earned in two of three starts. He is averaging 9.8 K/9, which is excellent, but his 1.418 WHIP and 5.57 FIP are troublesome.
And then there’s Avisail Garcia. Oh, Avi. Where in the world was this version the past few seasons? Heck, he even pulled a home run the other day. Miracles! They never cease. To be clear, we’re not (okay, I’m not) sold his production (.423/.483/.654, 3 HR, 22 H, 13 RBI) is remotely sustainable, but he is worth grabbing as a fantasy share as well as he’s seeing the ball. For a nice breakdown of Avi’s hot start, check out this piece by The Loop Sports’ Patrick Flowers.
[Also: This is the series Jacob May gets a hit. I can feel it.]
Coming off a game in which they scored five runs in the final three frames to finish off a sweep of the Minnesota Twins, the Indians are riding high, especially on offense.
Over the seven days going into action on Thursday, the Indians had four players—Jose Ramirez, Michael Brantley, Francisco Lindor, Lonnie Chisenhall—hit at least .350 and slug at least .519 and six regulars had at least a 100 wRC+. To be sure, Carlos Santana is still struggling, but in sum, the offense is looking much better as of late.
Pitching wise, the Indians’ strength is in the relief corps. Cody Allen (1.59 ERA, 3 SV, 20.65 K/9), Andrew Miller (0.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 10.29 K/9) and Boone Logan (2.45 ERA, 7 G, 9.82 K/9) have been as good as they get at the back of the bullpen. It is incumbent upon the White Sox to jump on Kluber, Carrasco and Salazar if they hope to find success.
Should be an entertaining series, especially if Quintana gets in an early groove.
Where to Watch and Listen
Friday: 7:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago+ (check local listings)
Saturday: 6:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Sunday: 1:10 p.m., WGN
*All games on WLS-AM 890
*In which I take random stabs at calling the result ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.
Friday: Quintana finds success early and sustains it throughout, logging 7.2 innings of one-run ball. The White Sox get to Kluber early. Sox win
Sunday: Holland and Salazar get shelled. Holland gets the worse of it. Sox lose
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