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Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox series preview

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Winning would be a good idea at this point.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

So, you’re still a Cleveland Indians fan, eh? Good to hear, glad you could join us. The Tribe has not played well this past week, and there are whispers that they may not be a good baseball team. I say boo to that. Today, the Indians begin a weekend series back at home against their divisional rivals, the Chicago White Sox. The Tribe just finished losing both games in Denver and will hope to put together a winning series and gain some momentum before the Los Angeles Dodgers come to town next Tuesday. The Sox, on the other hand, just finished up losing 2 of 3 to the Tampa Bay Rays and will head back home at the conclusion of this series to face the Baltimore Orioles next Monday.

Pitching matchups

Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Miguel González (RHP) vs. Corey Kluber (RHP)

This is another favorable pitching matchup for the Cleveland Indians, so expect Corey Kluber to get ran over by Ketchup during the hot dog race and Miguel González to strike out 37 batters while giving up -4 runs.

In all seriousness, things look good on paper for the Tribe in this one. Miguel González is off to a meh year after turning in a solid year for the White Sox in 2016. So far, in 2017, González has allowed 37 earned runs over the course of 69.0 innings while walking 20 and striking out 40 (good for an ERA+ of 84). He is, however, coming off a bad start that occurred on June 3rd against the Detroit Tigers. In that game, González went 6.0 innings and allowed 6 earned runs on 10 hits while walking no one and striking out just 1 batter. The most batters that he’s struck out in a game so far this season is six and he’s done it twice. He, like our own Josh Tomlin, doesn’t strike hardly anyone out. Hopefully the Indians continue that trend.

On the other side of things is Corey Kluber. Corey Kluber has been derailed a bit with injuries this season, but he’s starting to look like his old ace-like self once again. On the season, Kluber has thrown just 43.1 innings; during that time frame, he has allowed 21 earned runs while walking 14 and striking out 51 (good for an ERA+ of 107). He’s not quite at the dominant level that he was a year ago, but he’s turning a good corner. This was evident in his latest start on June 1st against the Oakland Athletics. In that game, the Klubot went 6.0 innings and allowed just 2 hits and 0 runs while walking 1 and striking out 10 (tying a season high). If the Indians can get this Corey Kluber on the mound tonight, things should go well. Should.

Saturday, 7:15 p.m. ET: David Holmberg (LHP) vs. Josh Tomlin (RHP)

LHP v. Josh Tomlin. Let’s see how this one goes.

David Holmberg has been slotted into Chicago’s rotation in place of Dylan Covey, who sustained an oblique injury that landed him on the DL. Prior to transitioning back to the starting pitching role (he attempted to be a starter in previous seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cincinnati Reds before being relegated to the bullpen), Holmberg appeared in 8 games for the Sox out of the bullpen, throwing a total of 10.1 innings and allowing just 1 run in that entire stretch. Since entering the rotation, Holmberg has made two starts and has only thrown 7.2 innings while giving up 4 earned runs. Hopefully the Indians realize that there’s a reason why Holmberg has not made it as a starter and takes advantage of that come Saturday. His most recent outing came on June 4th against the Detroit Tigers. In that game, he lasted just 3.2 innings and gave up 1 earned run on 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out 1.

For the Tribe, Josh Tomlin makes his twelfth start of the season. Depending on the day, Josh Tomlin either looks like Cy Young reincarnate or me trying to pitch when I was 11 and in Little League. Take his last start, for example. On June 2nd against the Kansas City Royals, Tomlin went 7.1 innings and allowed just 3 earned runs on 7 hits while walking zero (typical) and striking out 5 (also typical). The month of May was actually pretty kind to Tomlin; he had three stellar outings, one meh outing, and one dreadful one. I’ll take those numbers out of my #4/5 starting pitcher every day of the week. On the season, Tomlin has allowed 39 earned runs in 63.1 innings while walking 4 and striking out 44 (good for an ERA+ of 84).

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. ET: Jose Quintana (LHP) vs. Carlos Carrasco (RHP)

If you turn the clock back to 2016, Jose Quintana and Carlos Carrasco were both dominant starters overshadowed by other dominant starters on their team (Chris Sale and Corey Kluber, respectively). This season, with Chris Sale wearing different colored Sox and Corey Kluber being off and on with injuries, both Quintana and Carrasco have had much more of the spotlight shined on them in 2017. Fortunately, for the Cleveland Indians, Cookie has had a much better season thus far than Jose Quintana.

Quintana has pitched downright terrible so far in 2017. The 2016 All-Star has thrown 69.2 innings so far this season and he’s allowed 41 earned runs while walking 28 and striking out 71 (good for an ERA+ of 77). The walks are definitely killing Quintana this season; to put things into perspective, he only walked 50 batters last year when he threw 208.0 innings, and he’s already more than halfway to that total this season in only 33% of the innings. His last start on June 6th against the Tampa Bay Rays was a solid one, going 5.1 innings and allowing just 1 earned run on 4 hits while walking 4 and striking out 7.

As mentioned above, Carlos Carrasco has been awesome for the Cleveland Indians this season. In 69.2 innings (oddly enough, the same amount as Quintana), he’s allowed just 26 earned runs while walking 18 and striking out 68 (good for an ERA+ of 139). He hit a bit of a rough patch in his last start on June 3rd against the Kansas City Royals, going just 4.1 innings and allowing 5 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 3. Cookie pitched amazingly in that game up until the fifth inning when the Royals pounced for six runs.

Storylines

Hey, left handed starters are still a thing

In my last series preview against the Royals, I noted that the Indians are struggling against left handed pitchers, batting .236/.321/.379 as a team against them. A week later, little has changed. The team now holds a slash line of .239/.319/.379 against left handers. A sub-.700 OPS is not a recipe for success, and the Indians need to figure out left handed pitching and do it soon. They will be facing two more lefties in a row in this series, so they will have their work cut out for them.

Stoppable Force meets Movable Object

For some reason, the Cleveland Indians cannot win at home this season, being the owners of a 12-14 home record versus a 17-14 road record. The White Sox, on the other hand, are atrocious on the road (13-21) while being slightly above average at home (12-11). Something has to give in this series, and I’m hoping that it’s the Tribe finally breaking through in front of a home crowd.

Will Bradley Zimmer get more playing time against LHP?

In 2017, Invader Zim currently has a grand total of 14 plate appearances against left handed pitching compared to 47 against right handed pitching. Granted, he’s been absolutely mashing against righties (.310/.383/.690), but that doesn’t mean he should be relegated to only facing them. With Lonnie Chisenhall back in the mix, the ideal outfield configuration is Brantley-Zimmer-Chisenhall, but Tito has been hesitant to play the rookie against southpaws. If he is going to be the future of the Cleveland Indians outfield, he needs to be an everyday player against all pitchers. And hey, it’s not like he can hit any worse than the rest of the team when facing a lefty, right? Guys?...

Chicago White Sox roster

FanGraphs

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the White Sox?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    3
    (31 votes)
  • 33%
    2
    (23 votes)
  • 14%
    1
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    0
    (4 votes)
68 votes total Vote Now