Series Preview: Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox


Cleveland Indians Head to Chicago Still Looking for Answers

Ok everyone, after 11 games the Cleveland Indians are 4-7 and sitting in fourth place in the A.L. Central. They just lost two out of three to the Minnesota Twins and look like anything but the World Series contender many projected them to be at the start of the season.

The natural reaction for the majority of you is to undoubtedly panic. So, for the sake of letting you get it out of your systems, I’ll allow all of you to have a mini freak out moment. Go ahead. I promise, nothing bad will happen. I won’t yell. I won’t scream. I won’t threaten to kick you in the head. So please, proceed to panic. I’ll wait.

For the rest of you level-headed individuals, here is a gif of some puppies.

Apr 17, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona looks on during pregame batting practice before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Ok, has everyone gotten their mini panic attack out of the way? Ok, good. Now let’s get down to business.

First off, the Indians are only 11 games into the season. While it’s certainly tempting to overreact and declare the season over after only 6% of the season has been played (another team in town has made that all too easy to do over the past 15 years. Yes, 6% of an NFL season is one game. The lesson as always, the Browns suck.), we have to remember that there us still a really long way to go before this is all said and done.

Secondly, and to piggyback on that point, a lot of the players on the Indians are still trying to find their groove in 2015. Brandon Moss has hit only one homer so far. Michael Brantley has been dealing with a back issue. Yan Gomes is hurt. Michael Bourn is struggling. And on and on it goes. As the season wears on and the bats start to heat up, things will turn around.

Third, and most importantly, the pitching has looked spectacular up to this point. Yes, their have been minor hiccups along the way. Bryan Shaw has struggled and T.J. House has been pretty much terrible, but otherwise everyone has picked up where they have left off. Once the hitting picks up, the Indians should find themselves in a nice spot to compete for the A.L. Central crown.

Speaking of pitching, Carlos Carrasco will make his return to the mound on Tuesday after last week’s scary scene. While Carrasco suffered no significant physical injuries from the incident, it will be interesting to see if it effects him at all mentally. If it has, that could be worse than if he had suffered a significant physical injury. Bones can be fixed. Confidence, on the other had, is a totally different story.

Meanwhile, the White Sox continue to have their own issues. Over the weekend they lost two of three to the Tigers. In two, the Sox broke out for 12 runs thanks largely to Jose Abreu. He belted a grand slam to put the game out of reach. Unfortunately, in games one and three the offense was limited to one run each and looked much more like the team that has struggled to start the 2015 campaign. Essentially, they share a lot of the same issues as the Indians through the first two weeks of the season.

At least for the White Sox, the one thing they can fall back on is the bat of Jose Abreu. While he still has not emerged from his winter long slumber, he is showing signs of life; signs of life that first popped up last week against the Indians. Coming off a weekend series that saw him go 4-for-13 with five RBI is encouraging. If you are a fan of the White Sox, you have to believe that once Abreu gets hot the rest of the lineup will fall into place.

Another thing the White Sox should be excited about is the recent promotion of highly touted prospect Carlos Rodon to pitch out of the bullpen. The White Sox took Rodon with the third overall pick in last June’s draft. As an elite level prospect that throws in the mid-90’s… with his left arm, Rodon is a hot commodity. He’s the type of prospect that scouts like to say only come around once every so many years. If he’s as good as everyone thinks he can be, he’ll make life a living hell for the Indians for years to come. Expect to see him out of the Sox pen at some point tonight.

All of that aside, the next three days will serve as a battle for last place. With both the Indians and the White Sox struggling, whoever comes out on the losing side will be squarely positioned at the bottom of the AL Central standings. It’s a tough pill to swallow for sure, especially considering the Indians were picked by many to compete for a title, but maybe that’s the kick in the pants they’ll need in order to turn this thing around.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

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