White Sox-Indians Preview
Despite facing a virtually insurmountable deficit in the AL Central race, the Chicago White Sox remain determined.
The White Sox will try to keep their faint hopes alive with a win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night and by getting some help from another division rival.
Chicago (83-76) is three games behind Detroit in the division with three left after suffering another defeat Sunday, 6-2 to Tampa Bay. The Tigers, meanwhile, won 2-1 in Minnesota and can clinch the division with a win over Kansas City on Monday or a White Sox loss in Cleveland.
"Obviously we're up against it now, but we'll continue to play," Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko said. "That's what we do and what we've done all year. It doesn't look good obviously. ... You never know what can happen. The main thing is to get us in order and go win a ball game tomorrow."
The White Sox are 2-10 in their last 12 and dropped two of three at home to Cleveland last week. Hector Santiago (3-1, 3.69 ERA) started Wednesday's series finale but lasted only 3 1-3 innings in a 6-4 loss.
"I'm getting experience in the big leagues as a starter and trying to build myself up and learn how to pitch and get early outs," Santiago told the team's website. "That's what we are building up for now to possibly be in next year."
It was the third start of the left-hander's career and his first against the Indians (67-92), who are coming off a 15-3 rout of Kansas City. Asdrubal Cabrera had a grand slam among his three hits Sunday, and Cleveland went 9 for 20 with runners in scoring position after leaving 20 on base in a 7-6 loss in 14 innings Saturday.
"That's baseball," interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. "We took what they gave us and kept the line moving, tried not to do too much."
The Indians have won five of seven since a 12-41 stretch, which cost manager Manny Acta his job. Alomar took over before Friday's 8-5 victory over Kansas City.
Corey Kluber (2-4, 5.02) will try to lead his team to another win by beating the White Sox for the second time in as many matchups. The right-hander gave up two solo homers and two singles in a 4-3 victory at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday.
Kluber, though, will likely need a better effort to earn another win at Progressive Field. He's 0-3 with a 5.17 ERA in six starts there this season.
Kluber will try to get some help from Cabrera, who is batting .340 with 12 RBIs over his last 12 games. The Indians shortstop is hitting .375 (12 for 32) in his last 10 matchups with the White Sox.
Jason Kipnis is batting .327 with three homers and 13 RBIs over his past 13 games against Chicago but is 1 for 25 (.040) in six home matchups.
Alejandro De Aza, meanwhile, is hitting .377 in 30 career games against Cleveland and A.J. Pierzynski is batting .320 with five homers and 15 RBIs versus the Indians in 2012. Adam Dunn has a team-best six home runs during the season series.