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Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox series preview

With a two game split in the books from Milwaukee, the Tribe come home to face the Chicago White Sox for four games this weekend.

The two best White Sox, Jose Abreu and Chris Sale
The two best White Sox, Jose Abreu and Chris Sale
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If the Indians hope to finally reach 0.500 and attempt to move up in the playoff chase, they will have to take three of four from the Chicago White Sox this weekend. The Indians split a two game series with Chicago in early April and then lost two out of three in Chicago a week later. They then took three of four in mid-May, which prompted their best stretch all season, winning six in a row, and twelve of  sixteen.

  • Thursday 7:10 PM: Jeff Samardzija (R) vs. Trevor Bauer (R)
  • Friday 7:10 PM: Jose Quintana (L) vs. Corey Kluber (R)
  • Saturday 7:10 PM: Chris Sale (L) vs. Carlos Carrasco (R)
  • Sunday 1:10 PM: Carlos Rodon (L) vs. Danny Salazar (R)

The Upcoming Schedule: This homestand finishes up with the Royals visiting for three games. Then the Indians will head west for the final time, visiting the A's and Angels.

Division Watch: Astros at Royals, Yankees at Twins, Tigers at Red Sox.

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Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 one-day fantasy baseball league today. It's $3 to join and first place wins $8,000. Enter now!

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Team in a Box

Chicago White Sox

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2015 Record

42-50

Runs/Game

3.4

15th

Runs/Game

4.3

8th

AL Central

5th

OBP

295

15th

H/9

9.1

11th

Last 10

4-6

SLG

357

15th

BB/9

2.8

6th

Last 30

14-16

Steals

29

13th

SO/9

8.4

4th

Since the Tribe last played them in mid-May, the White Sox have been alright, with a 24-30 record. But there have been some serious streaks. They lost 8 in a row in mid-June and just had a stretch when they won 9 of 11. Since then though, they now have lost 6 of 7, including their last 4.

This offense is the worst in the league, and by a good margin. They are last in runs, doubles, homers, on-base, slugging, OPS and total bases. And while the pitching has been pretty decent, they have not been able to make up for the lack of offense. And defensively they are just as poor as the Indians.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Tyler Flowers

R

211

221

627

70

1B

Jose Abreu

R

371

287

806

121

2B

Carlos Sanchez

S

197

200

490

30

3B

Tyler Saladino

R

37

314

857

134

SS

Alexei Ramirez

R

351

224

548

45

LF

Melky Cabrera

S

390

260

639

74

CF

Adam Eaton

L

387

249

713

97

RF

Avisail Garcia

R

332

269

696

92

DH

Adam LaRoche

L

339

218

676

89

IF

Gordon Beckham

R

183

195

569

54

C

Geovany Soto

R

128

241

761

109

OF

J.B. Shuck

L

96

277

678

88

IF

Emilio Bonifacio

S

79

160

366

-6

This has to be one of the most stable rosters this season. The only change since May is that they DFA'ed 3B Conor Gillaspie last week. But based on the numbers above, there should have been many changes along the way. Sanchez has been awful since arriving in mid-May. Ramirez has been horrid all season so I would expect his option for 2016 won't be picked up. He has been playing everyday because Bonifacio is really, really bad too (-6 wRC+, yikes). The whole lineup has under produced all season. Even Abreu has struggled from his awesome 2014, but he at least is still serviceable at 121 wRC+.

This has been a consistent them all season as well. Their OPS by month is 643, 661, 639 and 662. Saladino has been great since his callup on July 10. But none of the other regulars else has an OPS over 800 this month, although Cabrera and Eaton are closest, with Cabrera driving in 11. Sanchez, Flowers and LaRoche all are below 630 this month.

In the nine Tribe game, the team has hit 233/289/342 with 6 homers and just 26 runs scored (2.9/game). Abreu of course has feasted on our staff to the tune of 306/324/311 and three bombs. Eaton has done well too, 306/359/859. Backup Beckham (944), minor leaguer Micah Johnson (825) and the recently departed Gillaspie (792) are the only others with an OPS over 700 in those games.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

Jeff Samardzija

R

4.08

3.60

132.1

1.23

7.1

Chris Sale

L

2.86

2.38

125.2

1.00

11.7

Jose Quintana

L

3.83

3.25

120.0

1.32

7.9

John Danks

L

4.66

4.30

104.1

1.42

6.3

Carlos Rodon

L

4.48

3.89

70.1

1.66

9.5

Dave Robertson

R

2.31

1.83

39.0

0.90

13.2

Zach Duke

L

3.29

4.81

38.1

1.28

8.7

Jake Petricka

R

3.24

3.66

33.1

1.44

5.7

Zach Putnam

R

3.60

4.00

30.0

1.23

13.2

Dan Jennings

L

6.37

4.28

29.2

1.52

7.3

Daniel Webb

R

1.56

3.99

17.1

1.44

6.2

Matt Albers

R

0.96

3.49

9.1

0.75

5.8

This series will not be much different than the last four game set. The Tribe will have to face three tough lefties. But they open with Samardzija, who has finally had his season turn around a bit. In his past five starts he has a 2.61 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 6.63 K/9. He did pitch six shutout innings in 6-0 White Sox win back on April 22. Quintana has struggled a little as of late, 3.58 ERA, 1.22 WHIP (just one walk) and 8.8 K/9 in his last five. He beat the Tribe on April 14 4-1, but took the loss 3-1 on May 19. Sale has been Cy-worthy this year, but has had a couple of glitches recently, 3.16 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 10.7 K/9, but is still fantastic. He took a no decision in a White Sox win 2-1 on May 18. Rodon has struggled overall this year. He has a 5.54 ERA, 1.69 WHIP (19 walks!) and 10.7 K/9 in his past five. He pitched in relief in April, but also took a no decision in his May 20 start, which the Tribe ended up winning 4-3.

The bullpen has added Webb recently. And Albers was recently activated off the DL. Robertson has been incredible, but the rest of the pen has been fairly nondescript. In the nine Tribe games, only Jennings has been unlucky, three runs on three hits in 6 innings. The only other reliever scored upon was Putnam, which was a solo homer.

On the Shelf

  • RP Nate Jones [60 day DL], possible late July return, on AAA rehab

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

5

4

556

27

26

517

2014

10

9

526

78

71

543

Last 5*

50

42

543

435

419

517

Last 10*

92

92

500

898

837

532

All-Time

1031

1061

493

8914

8969

497

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: Normally, I'd be very pessimistic with three lefties in four games. But the White Sox have really struggled to generate much offense. I think the Indians finally, finally, reach 0.500 since the first week of the season by taking three of four.