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Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox series preview

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Another series win, perhaps?

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Just. Win. Series.

With the help of two walk-offs, the Cleveland Indians took another series, this time from the Minnesota Twins. Now, the Tribe turns their efforts to another division rival in the Chicago White Sox.

Looking ahead

After their visit to Guaranteed Rate Field, the Indians will head to Great American Ball Park to take on the Cincinnati Reds for three games before heading back home to welcome the Baltimore Orioles for three games. The White Sox, on the other hand, will head to Comerica Park to take on the Detroit Tigers for three games before returning to Chicago to welcome the Kansas City Royals for three games.

Pitching match-ups

Friday, August 10 8:10 p.m. ET: Shane Bieber (RHP) v. Carlos Rodon (LHP)

Shane Bieber has done excellent for a rookie in his debut season and fills the role as the #5 starter for the Tribe wonderfully. Across 57.0 innings, Bieber has allowed 29 earned runs while walking 11 and striking out 58 (which translates to an ERA+ of 97). His most recent start came on August 5 against the Los Angeles Angels; in that game, Bieber went 5.2 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7.

Carlos Rodon has been the bright spot in an otherwise dismal White Sox rotation. Across 64.1 innings so far this season, Rodon has allowed 21 earned runs while walking 26 and striking out 53 (which translates to an ERA+ of 142). His most recent start came on August 4 against the Tampa Bay Rays; in that game, Rodon went 6.0 innings and allowed zero earned runs on 3 hits while walking 5 and striking out 4.

Saturday, August 11 7:10 p.m. ET: Trevor Bauer (RHP) v. James Shields (RHP)

Trevor Bauer keeps rolling and there’s no stopping him. Across 159.2 innings so far this year, Bauer has allowed just 40 earned runs while walking 56 and striking out 206 (which translates to an ERA+ of 197). His most recent start came on August 6 against the Minnesota Twins; in that game, Bauer went 6.0 innings and allowed zero earned runs on 3 hits while walking 3 and striking out 11.

I appreciate that baseball-reference still lists James Shields’ nickname as “Big Game James” despite him being merely “Below Average Game James” ever since 2015. Take this year, for example. Across 150.0 innings, Shields has allowed 75 earned runs while walking 60 and striking out 118 (which translates to an ERA+ of 92). His most recent start came on August 5 against the Rays; in that game, Shields went 6.0 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 4 and striking out 6.

Sunday, August 12 2:10 p.m. ET: Carlos Carrasco (RHP) v. Dylan Covey (RHP)

Don’t look now, but it’s possible that Carlos Carrasco is back. Ever since returning from his injury in mid-June, Cookie has gone at least five innings in all of his starts and has given up three or fewer earned runs each outing. Overall this year, across 129.1 innings, Carrasco has allowed 53 earned runs while walking 27 and striking out 146 (which translates to an ERA+ of 121). His most recent outing came on August 7 against the Twins; in that game, Carrasco went 6.1 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 10 hits while walking 1 and striking out 8.

Dylan Covey struggled in his rookie season last year, and he hasn’t fared much better in 2018. Across 79.0 innings, Covey has allowed 49 earned runs while walking 34 and striking out 56 (which translates to an ERA+ of 75). His most recent start came on August 6 against the New York Yankees; in that game, Covey went 6.1 innings and allowed 4 earned runs on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 5.

Players to watch

  • Jose Abreu - Yep, he’s still mashing baseballs left and right. With a .269/.330/.487 slash over 482 plate appearances (which translates to a wRC+ of 119), Abreu has been the best hitter for the White Sox this season. He leads his team in doubles (33), home runs (20), and RBIs (67). Thankfully, the Indians have kept him off balance all season; in 41 plate appearances against the Indians this year, he’s slashing .154/.171/.282.
  • Matt Davidson - The corner infielder/DH for the White Sox has had a solid season at the plate. Across 340 plate appearances this season, Davidson has slashed .220/.326/.443 (which translates to a wRC+ of 112). He’s second on his team in walks (43), but he’s also second in strikeouts (118).
  • Luis Avilan - Avilan isn’t pitching as well as he did in the past two seasons with the Dodgers, but he’s still a solid relief option for the Sox late in games, especially now that Joakim Soria is gone. Across 34.0 innings this season, Avilan has allowed 14 earned runs while walking 12 and striking out 40 (which translates to an ERA+ of 113).

Storylines

The Andrew Miller Show

Don’t look now, but maybe, juuuuuuuuuust maybe, Andrew Miller is almost being back to normal. So far in the month of August, Andrew Miller has thrown in 4.0 innings (4 games) and hasn’t given up a run, he’s given up 1 hit and walked 2 while striking out 3. His slider is getting tighter by the appearance, and his fastball touched 94 mph a couple of times in Thursday’s game. Look for Miller to keep taking steps forward this weekend.

But what about Cody Allen?

Cody Allen, on the other hand, continues to raise blood pressures all across northeast Ohio every time he takes the mound. With the trade deadline acquisitions of Brad Hand and Adam Cimber and the return of Andrew Miller, Tito may be able to give Allen some lower leverage situations to pitch in to get him back into a groove.

Francisco Lindor, so hot right now

The past few weeks have been fantastic for Lindor. In his last 21 games (95 plate appearances), Lindor is slashing .296/.400/.568. This last week especially has been magical as Lindor has slashed .400/.464/.760 over the past 6 games and hit two home runs, one of which was of the walk-off variety.

Chicago White Sox roster

FanGraphs

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    3
    (88 votes)
  • 42%
    2
    (70 votes)
  • 2%
    1
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    0
    (3 votes)
165 votes total Vote Now