INDIANS (28-29) AT WHITE SOX (27-29)
8:10 p.m. ET; WGN, ST-OH, MLB.TV
Contending for the American League Central Division title may still be a tall order at this stage of the Chicago White Sox rebuild, but plenty of milestones and guideposts continue to loom along the way.
The White Sox can creep closer to one of them on Friday as they continue a four-game series against the visiting Cleveland Indians.
Chicago is just one game behind the Indians for second place, a standings perch the club hasn’t occupied since the first 10 days of the 2018 season.
“We’re getting better at adjusting, talking to each other, figuring things out,” White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito said. “And the goal is to be able to compete at the level we know we can every series.”
The White Sox have won each of their first four games to begin a seven-game homestand, beginning with a three-game sweep of the division foe Kansas City Royals.
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson added fuel to the rivalry by saying that his disdain for the club is “going to be a forever beef for me.”
Chicago manager Rick Renteria didn’t seem to mind Anderson’s passion.
“Timmy is a competitor,” Renteria said. “And he’s making no bones about, we’re trying to win ballgames, we’re trying to get better. … We need a little bit of that fire. And that’s a kind of an edge that hopefully will put us over the top.”
So bring on the Royals — and everyone else, for that matter.
“We don’t like the Royals, the Indians, we don’t like anybody that’s not a White Sock, so let’s make that clear,” Renteria said. “Anybody that’s not a White Sock, we don’t like.”
While the White Sox have won six of their past 11 games, the Indians are traveling in the opposite direction, losing eight of 12.
Veteran right-hander Trevor Bauer (4-4, 3.19 ERA) will aim to help Cleveland reverse its recent course. Bauer has endured a trying May, going 0-3 with a 6.52 ERA in five starts. The White Sox started Bauer on his rough course, reaching him for eight runs — seven earned — on 10 hits in a home victory on May 6.
Bauer yielded two home runs in that game and has allowed 10 in 76 2/3 innings this season. His career record against the White Sox is 8-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 19 games (17 starts).
“His stuff is phenomenal, he’s just not throwing it where he wants to,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s not commanding. He’s just not throwing it to where he wants to enough.”
Right-hander Dylan Covey (0-4, 5.47) is set to get the call for Chicago, which is 1-4 in his five starts this season. Covey, who has shuttled between Chicago and Triple-A Charlotte in 2019, pitched six innings in his most recent outing against the Minnesota Twins and allowed each of his four runs in the third inning, punctuated by a three-run home run off the bat of Eddie Rosario.
In nine career games (six starts) against Cleveland, Covey is 1-3 with a 4.24 ERA.
Indians first baseman Carlos Santana enters Friday with a .320 average, five home runs and 15 RBIs in his past 15 games.
“I think every opponent picks out a guy or two and say we don’t want him to beat us,” Francona said. “And Carlos is an obvious choice with the way he’s been swinging the bat (overall).”
–Field Level Media