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Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox series preview

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Welcome back, White Sox. It’s been a while.

Chicago White Sox v Boston Red Sox Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

This weekend was awful. Not only did the Cleveland Indians drop 2 of 3 to the Minnesota Twins, but Carlos Carrasco also got hit by another line drive and is on the DL again. No word yet on what the prognosis for Cookie is, but don’t expect him to make an appearance in this upcoming three-game set against the Chicago White Sox.

Looking ahead

The Indians continue this homestand with the White Sox and are immediately rewarded with an off day on Thursday. They’ll start a new series with the Detroit Tigers this upcoming weekend before flying to Busch Stadium to take on the St. Louis Cardinals for three games. The White Sox, on the other hand, will head back home to welcome the Oakland Athletics for four games before the Twins come to town for three games.

Pitching matchups

Monday, June 18 7:10 p.m. ET: Dylan Covey (RHP) v. Trevor Bauer (RHP)

Last week, I mentioned that Dylan Covey was probably a permanent staple in the White Sox rotation after having gone up against Chris Sale and holding his own. His last start came 5 days ago and he did the same against Trevor Bauer and the Tribe. Covey went 7.0 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 10 hits while walking zero and striking out 5.

Bauer also pitched well 5 days ago, but he had no offensive support. He went 7.2 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 12. In his last 4 starts, Bauer has struck out 48 hitters compared to 8 walks. Keep doing your thing, Bauer.

Tuesday, June 19 7:10 p.m. ET: Carlos Rodon (LHP) v. Mike Clevinger (RHP)

Hey look, another repeat matchup from last week. Rodon has made just two starts for the White Sox so far this season, and his last one came against Clevinger and the Indians on June 14. In that game, Rodon went 5.0 innings and allowed just 2 earned runs on 2 hits while walking 3 and striking out 4.

Clevinger was dominant yet again the last time he faced the White Sox. The offense came through for Sunshine and backed a dominant outing by Clevinger. In his last start, Clev went 7.0 innings and allowed just 1 earned run on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out a season high 11. This game marked just the second time this season that Clevinger has reached double digit strikeouts in a game. He reached 10 K on May 6 against the Yankees.

Wednesday, June 20 1:10 p.m. ET: Reynaldo Lopez (RHP) v. Corey Kluber (RHP)

The Indians missed Reynaldo Lopez during the last series, which is probably for the best since he’s been pitching very well for the White Sox this season. Across 83.1 innings this season, Lopez has allowed 31 earned runs while walking 34 and striking out 57 (which translates to an ERA+ of 121). He’s got a good mid-90s fastball that he pairs with a middling slider (84 mph) and change (84 mph). His curve (78 mph) gets hitters to pop up a decent amount, and his cutter (86 mph) is good at getting hitters to swing and miss, but he hardly throws it. His most recent start came on June 15 against the Detroit Tigers; in that game, Lopez went 6.0 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 9 hits while walking no one and striking out 3.

Corey Kluber tossed a rare clunker in the series opener against the Twins a few days ago. He lasted only 5.0 innings and gave up 4 earned runs on 4 hits while walking 1 (noooooooooooo) and striking out 3. He gave up a pair of home runs to Eddie Rosario and Brian Dozier, so that was fun. Tito pulled Kluber after just 65 pitches, and the collective internet lost its mind at the thought of Kluber being injured. For what it’s worth, Kluber said after the game that he was fine, but we will be waiting to see if he bounces back this week.

Players to watch

  • Jose Abreu - The Indians have done extremely well this season in terms of neutralizing Jose Abreu at the plate. Against the Tribe, Abreu has a slash of .115/.143/.269 this season. But don’t be fooled; he’s still a dangerous hitter. Overall this season, Abreu is doing exactly what we all knew he would do, which is his the crap out of the ball. He’s got a .284/.339/.504 slash over his 295 plate appearances this season (which translates to a wRC+ of 127). He’s leading his team in RBIs as well, so if runners get on ahead of him, expect him to drive them home.
  • Yolmer Sanchez - Sanchez is a player who, for the life of me, I cannot understand what is making him so good. He has a fairly average slash line of .264/.313/.417 on the season (which translates to a wRC+ of, you guessed it, 100). He’s been decent in the field (6 DRS at 3B, his primary position) but not otherworldly. He does have 8 triples already on the season, but that’s really the only counting stat that stands out to me. Well, that and his team leading 2.0 WAR per baseball-reference. So watch for Sanchez these next few games, I suppose?

Storylines

Is Corey Kluber injured or was his last start some freak fluke?

Now that Carlos Carrasco is out for some amount of time, it will be incredibly important for the rest of the starters to stay healthy. The team hasn’t started to run away with the division as we all hoped they would, so their margin for error is fairly slim right now. But you lose your top two starters to injury, and you’re going to have a hard time. Watch for Kluber on Wednesday and pray that he is back to his dominant self.

What’s up at second base?

I’ll be a Jason Kipnis defender until the day I die, but he’s been struggling all season long. He’s had moments of the old Kip shine through, but he’s been overall bad at the plate this season, which has called for many to cry out for Erik Gonzalez. And yes, in his limited time this season, Gonzalez has done well (.290/.329/.464, wRC+ of 114). However, he’s been dreadful in the past month or so. Over his last 14 games (35 PAs), Gonzalez is slashing .212/.257/.333. The Indians are playing with essentially eight hitters in the lineup (seven on days when Roberto Perez bats) since neither Kipnis or Gonzalez can provide any sort of sustained offensive production lately. Which means you have to decide who you think is more likely to bust out of their slump: Kipnis or Gonzalez?

Chicago White Sox roster

FanGraphs

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    3
    (30 votes)
  • 45%
    2
    (36 votes)
  • 10%
    1
    (8 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (5 votes)
79 votes total Vote Now