White Sox-Indians Preview

If the Chicago White Sox succeed in coming from behind to win
the AL Central, it may be thanks to a couple of castoffs from the
NL West.

Manny Ramirez could make his White Sox debut Tuesday night in
the city where he began his major league career, as Chicago sends
surging Edwin Jackson to the mound to face the Cleveland
Indians.

Seeking another big bat in their lineup as they try to make up a
four-game deficit on division-leading Minnesota, the White Sox
(71-60) acquired Ramirez off waivers Monday from the Dodgers.
Ramirez batted .311 with eight homers and 40 RBIs this season for
Los Angeles, where he was limited to 66 games by calf and hamstring
injuries.

Manager Ozzie Guillen plans to bat the 38-year-old fifth and use
him primarily at designated hitter. While Ramirez may no longer be
capable of the consistent production that made him a 12-time
All-Star with five 40-homer seasons, he could still add plenty of
pop to the White Sox.

“Hopefully, he can come in here and give us some help,” first
baseman Paul Konerko said. “We need to make up some ground. There’s
no doubt Manny can hit. He makes any team better.”

Personality concerns are always an issue with the enigmatic
Ramirez, but Guillen claimed Monday the slugger is simply
misunderstood.

“People have the wrong idea about Manny,” he said. “I don’t
think Manny is a bad guy or a pain in the butt. It’s funny how
people say Manny is being Manny. Manny is being real. I never see
anyone on his team get mad at him because he goes about his
business.”

Ramirez’s first series with the White Sox will come on the road
against two of his former clubs. He spent his first eight seasons
in Cleveland, and will travel this weekend to Boston, where he
helped the Red Sox win two World Series before being dealt to Los
Angeles in 2008.

Ramirez has hit 132 of his 554 career homers at Progressive
Field – second all-time at the Indians’ park behind Jim Thome’s
185.

Jackson (2-0, 0.96 ERA) may provide Ramirez the perfect
blueprint for success. The right-hander – a major disappointment
during his first season in Arizona, where he went 6-10 with a 5.16
ERA before being dealt to Chicago on July 30 – has been phenomenal
since joining the White Sox, striking out 34 in 28 innings and not
allowing more than one earned run in any of his four starts.

“It’s hard when you come from a different team and get put in a
pennant race,” Guillen said after Jackson struck out 10 and
allowed three hits over eight innings of Thursday’s 8-0 victory
over Baltimore. “A lot of people, the expectation is very high. And
sometimes you don’t know how to handle it. I think he has handled
it well. He came to a city that is desperate to win and in that
situation we brought him here and he has handled it very positive
and very good.”

Jackson will seek to continue his dominance of the Indians. He’s
5-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 10 appearances – nine starts – versus
Cleveland, and 2-0 with a 1.01 ERA at Progressive Field.

Chicago opened this series and its 10-game road trip Monday by
squandering a five-run lead, then recovering to win 10-6 in 11
innings. Brent Lillibridge, inserted at second base when Gordon
Beckham left after being hit on the right hand with a pitch, made a
costly throwing error in the Indians’ three-run ninth, but put the
White Sox ahead to stay two innings later with a two-out homer.

Beckham’s X-rays were negative, but his status is uncertain.

The Indians (53-78) will give the ball to Justin Masterson
(5-12, 5.23), a onetime teammate of Ramirez in Boston who has never
faced the veteran slugger. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA
in three starts against the White Sox in 2010.

Masterson is looking to win consecutive starts for the second
time this season. He defeated the White Sox in Chicago on June 4,
then beat Boston at home June 9. He allowed two runs over six solid
innings Thursday in a 3-2 home victory over Oakland.

Cleveland is trying to avoid its fifth losing streak since the
All-Star break of at least three games.