Cleveland Indians-Chicago White Sox Series Preview

Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Cleveland Indians-Chicago White Sox Series Preview 5/23-5/25

The Cleveland Indians (22-19) head to the Windy City to take on the division leading Chicago White Sox (26-18). The two clubs are set to play four games in three days, beginning with a traditional doubleheader tonight, making up their April 10th game that was rained out in Chicago. This is the second time the two clubs have met this season and the second time in Chicago (the two clubs have yet to play in Cleveland). The two clubs are 1-1 against each other this season, having split the two-game, rain shortened series earlier in the year.

More from Away Back Gone

The Indians will send out Mike Clevinger in the first game of tonight’s doubleheader and Cody Anderson in the second game. They will then have Josh Tomlin and Corey Kluber finish out the series Tuesday and Wednesday. The White Sox will go with righties Mat Latos and Erik Johnson in the doubleheader before lefties Chris Sale and Jose Quintana finish up the series. The Indians will be calling up Anderson as their “26th man” today. Each team is allowed to add one extra player today before sending them back down tomorrow.

Clevinger will be making just his second big league start, having made his debut last week in Cincinnati where he went 5 1/3 innings allowing four runs. He took the no-decision as the Indians went on to win the game in 13 innings by a score of 8-7. For the White Sox, Sale will be making his 10th start and looking to move to 10-0. He also has the American Leagues’s lowest ERA at just 1.58. Opposing him will be Tomlin, who is also undefeated on the year at 6-0 with a 3.56 ERA.

Keys to the Series

The Indians won the first game of their series versus Boston but then lost the next two by a combined score of 14-3. The offense struggled to get anything going after putting up 47 runs in the previous five games. However, just as big an issue was the 14 runs allowed. Neither Trevor Bauer nor Danny Salazar pitched particularly well and the bullpen continued to struggle for the Indians this year. That will all have to change as the Tribe faces a White Sox club that is allowing the fewest runs per game as a team at just 3.41.

Runs are going to be at a premium this series so the Indians can’t afford to get down early like they did in Boston. They also need their bullpen to hold a lead should they get it. Despite looking better at times, the Tribe’s bullpen ranks in the bottom third of the American League with a 3.81 ERA. The White Sox meanwhile have the second-best bullpen ERA at 2.62.

The Indians are scoring a lot more than the White Sox, and while no one expects them to average 10+ runs like against the Cincinnati Reds, they’ll need to be on their A-game in this series. Luckily the White Sox have been inconsistent offensively as well and have scored three or fewer runs 21 times already this season. The Indians will look for the trio of Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, and Francisco Lindor to remain hot and get the offense going. All three have an OPS of at least .800 in the month of may, with Lindor leading the pack at .883.

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The Indians enter this series just 2.5 games behind the front-running White Sox and just one game behind in the loss column. The Tribe has a chance to gain some ground and potentially even overtake the White Sox this series should they pull off the difficult sweep. First pitch of Game 1 of the series is set for 5:10 pm EST tonight with the second game planned for shortly after the first game finishes. The lineups for the first game are below: