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Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox series preview

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Can the homestand magic travel to Chicago?

Chicago White Sox v Chicago Cubs Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

On July 20, our own Matt Lyons posted an article that posed the question “When is it time to panic?”. In that article, our own resident Nostradamus put forth a scenario in which the Indians won their next seven games in a row. Lo and behold, the Indians just completed a perfect homestand and are now sitting 2.0 games ahead of second place Kansas City. Now, the Indians are headed to Chicago for a a weekend series against the White Sox. The White Sox have not fared well over their last seven games, which included being swept in a three game series by the Royals and going 1-3 against the Chicago Cubs.

Following this weekend series, the Indians will head to Boston and then New York to face the Red Sox and the Yankees, while the White Sox will host the Toronto Blue Jays before heading to Fenway Park.

Pitching matchups

Friday, 8:10 p.m. ET: Danny Salazar (RHP) vs. Derek Holland (LHP)

Derek Holland has not been good this season. In fact, Holland hasn’t even been average since his excellent (albeit short) year in 2014 and his solid year in 2013 (where he pitched 200+ innings). In 2017, Holland has, in 102.0 innings, allowed 58 earned runs while walking 42 and striking out 82 (good for an ERA+ of 84). His most recent start was a short one on July 23 when he lasted just 4.2 innings against the Kansas City Royals; in that start, Holland gave up 3 earned runs on 4 hits while walking 3 and striking up 1. In the two starts he’s had against Cleveland this season, he’s limited the team to just one run over 12.0 innings

Danny Salazar just returned from the DL and his rehab assignment and his return couldn’t have gone much better than it did. On July 22 against the Toronto Blue Jays, The Dzar went 7.0 innings and allowed just 1 hit and 0 earned runs. Oh, and he walked no one and struck out 8. Do that more, Danny. His season stats don’t look pretty; in 62.0 innings pitched, Salazar has allowed 33 earned runs while walking 28 and striking out 85 (good for an ERA+ of 99).

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Corey Kluber (RHP) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (RHP)

Similar to his teammate from the previous game, Miguel Gonzalez has had a rocky season for the White Sox. The difference being Gonzalez had a solid season in 2016 before having struggles in 2017. This season, Gonzalez has pitched in 92.0 innings and allowed 47 earned runs while walking 34 and striking out 53 (good for an ERA+ of 93). In his most recent start, Miguel Gonzalez went 7.1 dominant innings against the Chicago Cubs while allowing just 1 earned run off of 7 hits while walking 3 and striking out 3.

I could say I’m getting tired of writing about the dominance of Corey Kluber, but I’d be lying. The man does not stop decimating hitters left and right and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. His overall numbers this season are, at this point, even better than his numbers from his Cy Young season in 2014. In 108.1 innings, Kluber has allowed just 33 earned runs while walking 26 and striking out 149 (good for an ERA+ of 172). His most recent start was just another example of Klubot’s dominance; on July 23 against the Toronto Blue Jays, Kluber mowed down Toronto hitters for 7.2 innings and allowed just 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out a season high 14. I love you, Corey Kluber.

Sunday, 2:10 p.m. ET: Josh Tomlin (RHP) vs. Carlos Rodon (LHP)

Carlos Rodon has been absolutely dreadful this year. Granted, he’s only thrown 24.1 innings so far, but they haven’t been good innings. After an average 2015 and 2016, Rodon finds himself struggling in 2017 with 17 earned runs, 18 walks, and 31 strikeouts on the season (good for an ERA+ of 69). His last start came on July 25 against the Cubs in which he lasted just 4.0 innings and allowed 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 3 and striking out 11.

Josh Tomlin is probably the second most divisive pitcher in the Cleveland rotation behind only Trevor Bauer. He’ll have a bunch of starts where he looks absolutely useless and then he’ll turn around and throw a complete game (as we saw on May 28). His overall numbers for 2017, however, have not been good; in 106.1 innings, Tomlin has allowed 66 earned runs while walking 12 and striking out 81 (good for an ERA+ of 85). His last few starts, however, have been solid. His last start on July 24 against the Cincinnati Reds when he went 6.0 innings and allowed just 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6.

Storylines

What do the real 2017 Cleveland Indians look like?

Two weeks ago, if you asked a Cleveland fan what they thought of the team, they probably would have said that they were terrible after watching them go 1-5 against the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants. However, after the most recent homestand, fans most likely think that the team is ready to make another run at the World Series. Is this team more Jekyll or Hyde?

Also, who is the real Danny Salazar?

Amidst injuries, speculation of poor work ethic, and bad luck, Danny Salazar looked pretty terrible in the first couple of months of the season. He was stellar in his most recent start, but one start does not an elite starter make. In order for me to truly believe that Salazar is back, he’s going to have to string together a few good starts in a row. Until then, I’ll be holding my breath.

Chicago White Sox roster

FanGraphs

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    3
    (126 votes)
  • 40%
    2
    (99 votes)
  • 6%
    1
    (15 votes)
  • 1%
    0
    (4 votes)
244 votes total Vote Now