White Sox-Indians Preview
Unfortunately for Cleveland, Texas gets to play Houston too.
With the Indians' lead in the AL wild-card race down to a single game after the Rangers' 12-0 rout of the Astros Monday, Cleveland is still under pressure entering a two-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Fortunately for the Indians, who swept the Astros in four games this weekend, they've been just as good against the White Sox. Cleveland's 15 wins in 17 games against Chicago is five more than it has against any other team.
The Indians (86-70) have averaged 7.5 runs and batted .318 during 12 straight wins over the White Sox. That's the franchise's longest win streak in the history of the series dating to 1901.
Chicago's 12 consecutive losses against Cleveland ties the White Sox (62-94) record for most against one opponent, set against the Boston Red Sox from Aug. 5, 1921-May 15, 1922.
The Indians stand a good shot at another win behind Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.39 ERA), who has a 1.65 ERA over his last 10 starts.
Though he was unable to win his fourth straight start Thursday against Houston, he held the Astros to one run over seven innings with nine strikeouts.
With an 0-3 record and a 7.84 ERA in his previous four starts against Chicago, Jimenez bounced back with 8 1-3 innings of one-run ball in an 8-1 victory Sept. 14.
Dunn, 7 for 54 in September, is expected to return to Chicago's lineup after he was held out of the starting lineup in three straight games.
"He had a stretch from early June until the start of this past month where he was really one of the better hitters in the American League," general manager Rick Hahn told MLB.com. "A player with his track record historically tends not to lose that overnight."
The White Sox hope that Hector Santiago (4-9, 3.53) is fully recovered from his last start Sept. 13, when he allowed three runs in four-plus innings of a 3-1 loss to the Indians.
They elected to skip his last start, with the left-hander having thrown a career-high 142 2-3 innings this year.
"The last few starts he's had, he just looks tired," manager Robin Ventura told the team's official website.
Several of Cleveland's hitters have been anything but tired when facing the White Sox.
Ryan Raburn is batting .381 with four homers and 18 RBIs in the season series, while Nick Swisher has a team-high five home runs and 12 RBIs. Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis have each driven in 11 runs, Carlos Santana is batting .362 and Yan Gomes .378.
Chicago will attempt to win three in a row for the first time since a six-game run Aug. 16-22 after Monday's 3-2 victory over Toronto. Rookie Marcus Semien hit his first career home run, a two-run shot.
"I feel good about the way I've been playing," said Semien, batting .306. "I try not to worry about making a case or anything like that. I try to focus on helping the team win."