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Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox — the rubber game

Corey Kluber vs. Jeff Samardzija. The Klubot vs. the Shark. It doesn't get much better than this for Tribe fans. Both teams are 5-8 and the Indians could really use another win before the upcoming series against the Tigers and Royals.

As waves of arms descended upon the bewildered David, he frantically tried to recall the high-five maneuver from his youth.
As waves of arms descended upon the bewildered David, he frantically tried to recall the high-five maneuver from his youth.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox

Wednesday April 22, 2015, 2:10 ET, U.S. Cellular Field


Radio: WTAM


After Carlos Carrasco's terrific return to action last night, the Tribe goes into the deciding game of this three-game series with a 5-8 record. Corey Kluber is on the mound for a terrific match-up with Jeff Samardzija. Kluber will be making his fourth appearance of the season, having recorded 25 strikeouts in 21.2 IP to date, while more or less mirroring his Cy Young form from last year. With Cody Allen having thrown 48 pitches in the last two days and Bryan Shaw used in three successive games, the Indians could really use a strong outing from Kluber to protect their vulnerable bullpen prior to tomorrow's day off.

The Indians' hitters certainly have their work cut out today, as Samardzija has improved each time that he has taken the mound so far. After struggling with his control against the Royals, he was much better against the Twins and then looked lights-out against the tough Tigers line-up in his last time up, going toe-to-toe with David Price for eight innings before leaving with the game tied at one apiece.

The former Notre Dame wide receiver has certainly had an interesting 12 months. Last July, along with Jason Hammel, Samardzija was part of a blockbuster trade between the Cubs and A's (part of which involved yesterday's debutant Addison Russell going to the Cubs). A few weeks later Jon Lester joined the Cubs with Yoenis Cespedes going the other way in what A's fans hoped would be the final piece in the puzzle for their World Series challenge. However, the team flamed out and the whole thing was blown up by Billy Beane in the off-season. Several key players were traded (including Brandon Moss, of course, and John Donaldson) with Samardzija returning to the Windy City as the centerpiece of a six-player deal. "The Shark" is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of this year, and it would be strangely fitting if he were to complete the circle by ending up back at the Cubs.

Today's Lineups

Michael Bourn - CF Adam Eaton - CF
Jason Kipnis - 2B Melky Cabrera - LF
Michael Brantley - DH Jose Abreu - 1B
Carlos Santana - 1B Adam LaRoche - DH
Brandon Moss - RF Avisail Garcia - RF
David Murphy - LF Conor Gillaspie - 3B
Lonnie Chisenhall - 3B Alexei Ramirez - SS
Roberto Perez - C Geovany Soto - C
Jose Ramirez - SS Micah Johnson - 2B
Corey Kluber - RHP Jeff Samardzija - RHP

The Tribe has named an unchanged side except that David Murphy and Michael Brantley have flipped positions, with the latter playing DH.

Today's minor league action is as follows (see here for live scores):

11.35am ET: Indianapolis (5-7) @ Columbus (6-6) with Nick Maronde on the mound and Zach Walters playing 3B in his comeback game.

6:35pm ET Akron (5-7) @ Reading (7-4) where Shawn Morimando gets the start for the RubberDucks.

6:30 pm ET: Frederick (8-5) @ Lynchburg (4-9) in which Mitch Brown will be hoping to bounce back from a rough start to the season.

7:05 pm ET: Lake County (6-7) @ South Bend (5-8) with Anderson Polanco up for the Captains.

The four affiliate teams all won yesterday, behind outstanding performances from pitchers Bruce Chen, Cody Anderson, Adam Plutko and Dace Kime, with both James Ramsey and Jordan Smith scoring grand slams. Zach Walters arrives at the Clippers today, where he will be joined by Nick Swisher tomorrow (with Swish scheduled to play his first game on Friday).

For daily Tribe MiLB news, box scores, game analysis and chat, check out the comments section to the latest minor league update article.