Indians part of crowded wild-card battle

T.J. House gets the ball as the Indians try to start the series off right in Chicago.

Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports

A strong stretch by the rotation has played a major role in the Cleveland Indians staying in the playoff hunt.

A matchup with the offensively challenged Chicago White Sox should give them a good chance to continue their roll.

The Indians go for their 10th win in 14 games while trying to send the AL Central-worst White Sox to a seventh consecutive loss in the first of three at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night.

Cleveland starters have posted a 1.71 ERA during a 9-4 stretch, helping the Indians (66-63) recover from a four-game losing streak that had dropped them two games under .500.

They’ve gained 3 1/2 games on Detroit over that span, but have lost ground to a red-hot Kansas City team that has moved into first place in the Central. The Indians are also part of a crowded battle for a wild-card spot.

"We have our work cut out for us, but if we pitch like that we’re going to give ourselves a chance," manager Terry Francona said following Sunday’s 3-1 home win over Houston.

T.J. House (2-3, 3.80 ERA) had been shuffled between the major league roster and Triple-A before settling into the rotation nicely of late. The rookie left-hander, who hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in his last eight starts, lowered his August ERA to 1.65 by allowing four hits over 5 1-3 innings of Wednesday’s 5-0 win at Minnesota.


House pitched well in his only career start against Chicago, surrendering one run with eight strikeouts over 6 1-3 innings May 28. He didn’t get a decision as the White Sox rallied against the bullpen for a 3-2 home win.

Now House is looking for a similar effort against a Chicago team that has totaled 16 runs during its worst slide of the season.

Avisail Garcia, Conor Gillaspie and Alexei Ramirez hit home runs Sunday, but the White Sox (59-71) went hitless in their three chances with runners in scoring position and Dayan Viciedo made a critical error in a 7-4, 10-inning loss at Yankee Stadium.

"It is not for lack of effort," Sunday’s starter Chris Sale said. "Nobody here is hanging their head. Nobody in here is giving up. Just some unfortunate bounces sometimes. We need to start stringing some things together and win some games."

Chicago could get a boost if Adam Eaton is activated from the disabled list. The center fielder, who hasn’t played since Aug. 8, batted .444 in a 19-game span prior to suffering a strained right oblique.

Jose Quintana (6-10, 3.25) will try to lead the White Sox to their ninth win in 14 meetings with Cleveland this season.

The left-hander has gone 3-0 with a 3.07 ERA in seven career starts against the Indians. He’s surrendered three runs over 12 innings in a pair of 2014 meetings – both Chicago victories.

Quintana, however, is aiming to halt a three-start losing streak after giving up four runs over six innings in Tuesday’s 5-1 home defeat to Baltimore. He’s posted a 4.91 ERA during the skid while receiving one run of support in each contest.

Michael Brantley is 7 for 15 with a home run against Quintana, and he’s expected back after resting Sunday. The All-Star is in a 3-for-30 slump, but has batted .367 with four homers in his last 15 against Chicago.

Teammate Mike Aviles is 3 for 5 off Quintana and 14 for 35 (.400) against the White Sox this season.