Pregame Notes: Cleveland Indians look to get back on track against Sox

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After losing three straight to kick off the home stand, the Cleveland Indians send Carlos Carrasco to the mound to kick off a two-game set with Chicago

It couldn’t have gotten much worse for the Cleveland Indians last weekend, as they welcomed their long-time Achilles heel to Progressive Field for the first home series of the season. Detroit clobbered Indians’ pitching, making Tribe starters and relievers look foolish as they posted 25 runs in three games.

As bad as the losses looked on the field, it was the two losses the Indians absorbed in their own lineup that could have a ripple effect on the first half of this season. Michael Brantley continues to nurse a sore back and Yan Gomes, who was injured on a play-at-the-plate in Saturday’s game, could miss two months with an MCL strain.

According to Tom Withers of the Associated PressJason Kipnis had this to say on Sunday afternoon:

"I don’t know what was worse, losing three games or losing the two players we did. I actually do know which one’s worse, but it’s part of the season, every team’s going to go through stuff where some players are going to get nicked up or put on the shelf for a couple days. We’ve got some guys who are more than qualified to step in and take up their roles. But it’s hard to replace two Silver Sluggers and two leaders of this team, but I think we’re going to do a pretty good job of trying."

Brett Hayes, who owns a career average of .209 split between the Kansas City Royals and Florida Marlins, will join the Indians in the interim, but Roberto Perez will get a majority of the opportunities behind the dish.

Perez has hit .272/.306/.391 limited opportunities with the Tribe, including going 2-for-7 in his first three games this season. Former Tribe catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. had a glaring review for the team’s young back-up catcher on Sunday:

"He’s a backup here because we have Yan Gomes. Anywhere else, he could start. He’s a good catcher, man. He’s prepared. We’re in good hands behind the dish until Gomer gets back. It’s a big loss for us having Yan Gomes out, but I think Roberto is going to do a good job."

Perez is certainly a player to watch in this series, as much of his success will determine the fate of the Indians over the next two months.

Here are the starting lineups:

Lonnie Chisenhall takes a seat, as Mike Aviles will play third base with another left-handed pitcher on the mound. The legend of Jerry Sands will make his third consecutive start.

News & Notes:

-The Indians haven’t started 0-4 at home in 28 years, but they’re in danger of doing so in the opening night of this two-game set with the White Sox. Cleveland gave up at least eight runs in each of the last three games — after surrendering just three in their first three games — as starters Zach McAllister and T.J. House were torched for a combined 11 runs in 5.1 innings on Friday and Sunday. 

Miguel Cabrera entered last weekend’s series hitting .182/.357/.273 and left Cleveland boasting a ridiculous .520/.586/.840 slash line. He was 11-for-14 with two home runs and six RBIs in the series. Similarly, last year’s AL Rookie of the Year and Chicago’s MVP candidate Jose Abreu will begin his trip to Cleveland hitting .238/.333/.476. The Indians hope that is where the comparisons end and their pitching doesn’t contribute to another kick-start for one of the division’s premier hitters.

-Carrasco started his career an 0-4 record and a 7.12 ERA against the White Sox until righting the ship and posting a 2-0 mark with a 0.53 ERA in his final three appearances against them last season. Carrasco, who has pitched as well as anyone in the league as of late, allowed just one run in 15.1 innings with 15 strikeouts in two starts.

-Much unlike the Tigers’ series, the Indians are 15-3 at home against the White Sox since 2013.

-Cleveland Cavaliers’ big man Timofey Mozgov is scheduled to throw out the first pitch tonight.

Next: Marcum DFA'd, Chacin signed to minor league deal

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