Though Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale doesn’t consistently struggle against many teams, he had major problems with the Cleveland Indians last season.
The Chicago ace got knocked around while losing all four matchups in 2013, and he’ll look for better results against the Indians while continuing his dominant start to the season in the second game of a four-game home set Friday night.
Sale (2-0, 1.76 ERA) posted an 8.61 ERA in his four starts in the 2013 season series, failing to last six innings in three of them. The left-hander’s four losses played a role in Chicago’s 2-17 mark against Cleveland last year.
Rookie Jose Abreu helped the White Sox (5-5) get halfway to their 2013 win total versus the Indians with a 7-3 victory Thursday, hitting a pair of home runs.
"Me and (Sale) were talking. We want to go thank (general manager) Rick (Hahn) right now for signing him," starter John Danks told the team’s official website of Abreu. "He’s fun to watch, and it’s scary but he’s only going to get better."
The first baseman has gone 6 for 13 with four home runs and eight RBIs in his last three games.
"He’s really good," manager Robin Ventura said. "That’s a simple fact, that he’s a good hitter. He hits things hard, and when he hits it hard, they go a long way, whether it’s left field or right field. He’s doing it for us."
Fellow Cuban Alexei Ramirez also homered to extend his hitting streak to 11 games dating to last season. The shortstop is batting .421 with nine RBIs in 10 games after it took him 43 games to reach that RBI total in 2013.
The White Sox ranked last in the AL with 598 runs last season but have scored 61 in 2014, most in baseball.
"Even when we get down there’s a feeling that you’re going to scratch away and get some opportunities and come through, and they execute," Ventura said. "They just have that feeling like they’re going to fight back and scratch something out."
They’ll try to do so again when they face Carlos Carrasco (0-1, 6.35 ERA), who labored through his only start of the season, allowing five runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-3 loss to Minnesota on Saturday.
He’s been right in line with those numbers in five career starts against Chicago, going 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA.
With a .237 average, the Indians (5-5) haven’t put up the offense to overcome that kind of pitching, though they got a 2-for-4 night out of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera on Thursday. The veteran homered and is 4 for 8 in two games after starting 3 for 27. He had been 0 for 9 batting leadoff before Thursday.
"I think hitting leadoff can sometimes be good for him, but when he’s not hitting it’s a little glaring when you’re in the leadoff," manager Terry Francona told the team’s official website. "So you try to balance it."
The Indians’ Lonnie Chisenhall has missed the last three games after starting the season with a five-game hitting streak, and he was placed on paternity leave Thursday. Chisenhall will remain out through Saturday.
Nick Swisher went 4 for 8 with two home runs against Sale last season while Carlos Santana is 9 for 21 lifetime against him.
Alejandro De Aza is 4 for 7 with three RBIs versus Carrasco.