Indians’ Bauer among AL strikeout leaders
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians will welcome first baseman Yonder Alonso back into the lineup Monday night when they host the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a three-game series at Progressive Field.
Prior to Monday’s game, Alonso will be activated off the family medical emergency list. He has missed the Indians’ last three games.
Alonso returns just in time to face one of his favorite opponents. In seven games against the White Sox this year, Alonso is hitting .400 (10-for-25), with four walks, four doubles, three RBIs and a .483 on-base percentage.
The pitching matchup Monday night will be the identical pitching matchup from last Wednesday in Chicago: White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey vs. Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer.
Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on SportsTime Ohio
Bauer (5-5, 2.69 ERA) outpitched Covey (3-1, 2.29) in that game, even though Covey and the White Sox won the game 3-2. That was the last win by the White Sox, who have lost their last four games and were swept in a three-game series by the Detroit Tigers.
“Overall, it wasn’t a very good series for us,” White Sox pitcher James Shields told MLB.com. “We’ve been playing some really good baseball as of late, and we’re going to try to go into Cleveland feeling positive.”
Bauer pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with 12 strikeouts and two walks. Covey pitched seven innings giving up two runs on 10 hits, with five strikeouts and no walks.
Bauer has struck out 10 or more batters in four consecutive starts, the longest such streak in the majors this season. The only other Indians pitchers who have had 10 or more strikeouts in four consecutive starts are Bob Feller and Corey Kluber.
Bauer has also struck out 10 or more batters in five of his last six starts and ranks third in the American League with 121 strikeouts, trailing only Gerrit Cole (130) and Chris Sale (129). After averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings last year as a 17-game winner, Bauer this year is averaging 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings, which also ranks third in the league behind Cole and Sale.
In 15 career appearances against the White Sox, Bauer is 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA.
Covey started this season at Triple-A Charlotte where, in seven starts, he was 3-1 with a 2.33 ERA. After being recalled by the White Sox, he lost his first game but in his last five starts is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA. In three starts in June, Covey is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA.
Cleveland’s pitching staff is in a bit of disarray after the club put two pitchers on the disabled list on Sunday. Carlos Carrasco, who was hit on the right elbow by a line drive off the bat of Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer on Saturday, was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow contusion. Right-hander Shane Bieber was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to replace Carrasco on the roster.
The preliminary diagnosis on Carrasco is a right elbow contusion, although he’s getting an MRI on Monday.
“Once he gets the MRI we’ll know exactly what’s going on in there,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland’s struggling bullpen has gotten a major boost from left-hander Oliver Perez, who was signed as a free agent on June 2 and has pitched well. In eight appearances, he has a 1.29 ERA with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.
“He has a lot of deception, and he has good stuff,” Francona said. “His breaking ball has a lot of bite and his velocity is good. I think we caught a break there.”
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