Indians-White Sox Preview
After ending their recent struggles versus Cleveland, the Chicago White Sox hope to do the same against Indians ace Justin Masterson.
They’ll get the chance Saturday while trying to hand the visiting Indians a fourth consecutive defeat.
Chicago (6-5) dropped 14 straight versus Cleveland before outscoring the Indians (5-6) 16-9 to win the first two of this four-game set. Conor Gillaspie had four RBIs on Friday as the White Sox improved to 4-1 at home with a 9-6 victory.
A season removed from ranking last in the AL with an average of 3.7 runs, the White Sox are scoring 6.4 per contest through 11 games. They didn’t record their first nine-run game until May 15 last year but have scored that many twice, and also put up 15 at Colorado on Tuesday.
"I think if we keep doing what we’ve been doing and making strides in the right direction we can be a force, be a great team," said Chris Sale, who improved to 3-0 on Friday. "It’s fun to watch."
A career .241 hitter coming into this season, Gillaspie is batting .343 while hitting safely in all nine games he’s played.
Chicago hitters will be put to the test against Masterson (0-0, 4.22 ERA), who is 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA in his last eight starts against them. He allowed three runs over 31 2-3 innings and recorded two shutouts while winning all four versus Chicago last season.
The right-hander gave up three hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win at Oakland to open this season but yielded six runs in 3 2-3 innings of a 10-7 loss to Minnesota on Sunday.
"It seemed like it was one of those days in general," said Masterson, who tabled contract talks on a long-term deal with the Indians during spring training.
"You want to make some adjustments, but it just didn’t happen."
Manager Terry Francona isn’t too concerned with Masterson’s latest outing.
"You know what, this was Masty’s second time pitching," he said. "His first time out he was pretty good. I don’t think you start to give up on your guys on April 6th. Not saying we don’t want them to do better, but I think you can rush to judgment and miss out on some really good players."
Felipe Paulino (0-1, 6.52) takes the mound for the White Sox trying to rebound after he allowed six runs, nine hits and walked four in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-1 loss at Colorado on Monday.
"It’s part of the game," Paulino said. "They got me, beat me. I got ahead in the count on guys and I never finished up. I have to figure out (how) to finish those hitters."
The right-hander hasn’t faced the Indians since 2011, but has a 1.42 ERA despite going 0-1 against them.
Cleveland second baseman and Chicago-area native Jason Kipnis is 2 for 8 in the series and batting .205 following an All-Star 2013 season in which he hit .284 with 17 homers and 84 RBIs.
Teammate Asdrubal Cabrera had two RBIs on Friday and is 5 for 13 (.385) in three games after going 3 for 27 (.111) in the first eight.
Kipnis and Cabrera are a combined 1 for 9 with five strikeouts versus Paulino.