The Chicago White Sox (25-33) end the road trip with a three-game set against the Cleveland Indians (29-28). 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
Losers of seven of their last eight games, the White Sox are falling apart quickly. Gone is the pitching dominance from earlier in the season. Sure, the bullpen still ranks ninth in MLB fWAR, but Miguel Gonzalez and Derek Holland have fallen off the table. And the offense has only been able to manage more than five runs once in the last nine games.
So it’s on to Cleveland to face the likes of Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Sure, Kluber’s overall statistics this season are less than impressive, but he does own a lifetime .243/.285/.370 slash line against versus the White Sox over 16 games. Carrasco struggles to a degree against manager Rick Renteria’s club, but with the way the club is swinging the bat, all bets are off.
One player who’s found success against Kluber is Jose Abreu. Over 36 at-bats, he is hitting .333 with three home runs and seven RBI. And Melky Cabrera owns Carrasco to the tune of a .343 on-base percentage and .516 slugging against. Hopefully they are the sparks in their respective match-up that gets the club on track.
For as poorly as the White Sox have been playing, the Indians aren’t much better, losing five of their last seven contests while only scoring four runs against the Colorado Rockies in Colorado. Takes a lot of swings and misses to only average two runs a game in that stadium.
Either way, the Indians hope a little home cooking will help get them back on track. To that end, they have hit as many home runs (34) at home as they have on the road in five fewer games. And their team OPS is 65 points higher at Progressive Field. They take advantage of the lineup’s ability to find the gaps and drive in runs with more frequency in front of the home crowd.
From a pitching perspective, manager Terry Francona’s club owns curious splits. On the road, for example, the staff owns a 4.17 ERA with only a .387 slugging percentage against. In other words, death by paper cut. At home, slugging against jumps to .427, but the ERA dips to 3.87. So if the White Sox hope to take this series, they will need to maximize their opportunities to do damage with the long ball and find the power alleys.
All told, the weekend match-up does not line up well for the White Sox on paper. The Indians play better baseball at home and the South Siders are scuffling mightily. That said, the Sox can take two of three if they can put together a couple solid outings from their starters and keep the Indians offense in the ballpark.
Where to Watch and Listen
Friday: 6:10 p.m., WGN
Saturday: 6:15 p.m., FOX
Sunday: 12:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
*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: Kluber hits the outside corners all night. Gonzalez pitches fairly well. Sox lose
Saturday: White Sox lay the hammer down on Tomlin. Sox win running away
Sunday: Quintana controls the Indians offense all day. White Sox get to Carrasco early and hold on for a one-run win.
Unless otherwise notes, advanced statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.
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