INDIANS (28-29) AT WHITE SOX (28-29)
2:10 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, ST-OH, MLB.TV
The mood is starting to lift in the Chicago White Sox’s clubhouse.
The long-struggling White Sox have won five games in a row for the first time since April 2017. They have pulled into a tie for second place in the American League Central for the first time since April 7, 2018. They have scored at least a half-dozen runs in each of the past three games and are starting to believe in themselves.
“Winning is contagious,” White Sox pitcher Dylan Covey said after he and his teammates posted a 6-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night to maintain their hot streak. “Pitching well is contagious. Hitting is contagious. We’re on all cylinders right now.”
Chicago will try to stay hot as it welcomes Cleveland for the third game of a four-game series on Saturday afternoon.
As the White Sox sense momentum starting to build, the Indians are doing what they can to prevent a free fall. Cleveland has lost two straight games, five of seven and nine of 12.
Frustrations bubbled over Friday as Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer unleashed a string of expletives after teammate Carlos Santana committed an error at first base that allowed two runs to score. The Indians made four errors in all, which marked their most in a game since May 30, 2016, against the Texas Rangers.
“I don’t think we were ready to play tonight, and that’s my fault,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “And I told these guys that’s not going to happen anymore. Losing is one thing, but losing the way we did is not acceptable, and we need to clean that up.”
The Indians will turn to right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (1-5, 4.99 ERA) to try to stop the skid. He has lost three straight decisions and allowed a career high-tying seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings during his most recent performance against the Boston Red Sox.
The road has not been kind to Rodriguez, who is 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA (11 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings) away from Progressive Field this season. He is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in one career start against the White Sox.
Chicago will counter with right-hander Ivan Nova (3-4, 6.52 ERA). Nova is 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA (21 earned runs in 16 innings) at home.
In five career starts against the Indians, Nova is 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA. He has tallied 25 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA (two earned runs in 14 innings) in two starts against Cleveland this season.
The White Sox expect to welcome back veteran catcher Welington Castillo before the game. Castillo spent the past week on the seven-day concussion list after taking a foul tip off his mask last Friday.
To clear a spot for Castillo, Chicago optioned rookie catcher Seby Zavala to Triple-A Charlotte after Friday’s game. Zavala notched his first career hit on Friday and made his home debut behind the plate.
–Field Level Media