Cleveland Indians’ Opposition Research: Five Questions About the Chicago White Sox

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The Cleveland Indians are headed to Chicago to take on the White Sox, in the teams’ second matchup of the year. The Tribe will face starters John Danks, Hector Noesi and Jeff Samardzija, who are a formidable set of opponents for the Tribe, especially with the way the Indians’ offense has been struggling. The two teams split a two-game series in Cleveland last week, but someone will be walking away as a winner in this three-game set. Will it be the Indians or the Sox?

To get a better idea about what the Tribe is up against, we spoke with Stephen Forsha of Southside Showdown, who gave us all the information we need to know about the White Sox.

Will it be Jeff Samardzija or Chris Sale who finishes with the better season?
SF: I believe that Chris Sale will be the better of the two pitchers this season. Sale has proven he’s not just the best pitcher on the White Sox, but one of the top aces in all of baseball. Sale’s downside is he’s injury prone, missing a month last year, and already this year missing the entire spring training. That said, Sale is already back to where he left off last season, with a 2-0 record in two starts with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings. Sale also has 14 strikeouts in those games.

Who will be the White Sox’s MVP this year?
SF: The White Sox will only go as far as Jose Abreu can take them, so for that reason I’m saying he’ll be the team MVP, and if he plays well enough throughout the season, he’ll be the AL MVP as well. He already has three home runs before Sunday, including a grand slam. His batting average will rise as the season continues, and I have no doubt he’ll be the type of player he was in his rookie season.

Which part of the team’s roster looks the weakest so far in 2015?
SF: Parts of the bullpen have been in trouble, the back end of the starting rotation and the offense (besides Saturday) should be producing a lot better. The team has clicked at times thus far, but they’re very inconsistent at the plate, on the bases and even on the mound. It will eventually all come around, and when it does the White Sox can be dangerous. The problem is when will it all click on a consistent basis? The player who must improve at the plate is Adam Eaton, because as the lead-off hitter, his sub .200 batting average won’t cut it in the big leagues. 

More from Away Back Gone

When we will see Carlos Rodon in the big leagues?
SF: My guess is in June or after the All-Star break, depending on where the White Sox are in the standings and how his progression with his changeup improves.

(Update: The Tribe will actually see Rodon in the upcoming series, but as a reliever. Rodon is expected to be a key starter for the White Sox in the future.)

And last but not least, you somehow get put in charge of the decision to keep Hawk Harrelson or replace him with any current/former Sox player. Who would be the Southside’s announcer and why?
SF: If I had to replace Hawk (yes, he’s the ultimate homer) I would like to hear what A.J. Pierzynski had to say about the team on a daily basis. Another player/manager who would be interesting to hear call White Sox games would be Ozzie Guillen.

Next: Friday 5: Indians to watch in road trip through AL Central

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