The Tribe accomplished two major goals last week: Winning a series and getting Corey Kluber back on track. The Erie Warriors will look to continue both those trends as they kick off a 4-game road series against the White Sox in the Windy City Monday night at 8:10 PM EST.
The Klubot is coming off an historic performance, as the reigning Cy Young winner returned to elite form in dominating the St. Louis Cardinals last Wednesday. Kluber tossed eight innings of one-hit baseball, striking out a whopping 18 batters and walking none, en route to a 2-0 Tribe victory. The Indians’ ace will look to stay hot and help his team to gain ground in the AL Central standings, an area where the Wahoos have struggled thus far in 2015, with a woeful 7-16 record against division opponents, including a 1-2 mark against the White Sox.
Making matters equally tough is the matchup against Chicago ace Chris Sale, given the Tribe’s struggles against south paws thus far in 2015. Despite a career ERA of 2.88, Sale sports an uncharacteristic 5.09 ERA so far this season; the high ERA is very deceiving however, as Sale has been dominant outside of one horrific start (3 IP, 8 ER) against the Twins. Nick Swisher and Ryan Raburn each have two career homeruns off the lefy, while Carlos Santana boasts a career .370 batting average. Unfortunately, Santana has been removed from the lineup just before gametime, due to back spasms. Sale has yet to face the Tribe in 2015, while Kluber was hit hard (6 IP 6 R 13 H) in a April matchup against the White Sox.
It will be key for the Indians to grab the first game of this 4-game series, not only because they have Kluber toeing the rubber, but because the Tribe must improve upon their paltry 2-10 record in games leading off a series in 2015. Now nine games behind division-leading Kansas City, it’s no longer “still early this season” and the best way for the Indians to gain ground is to begin to dominant matchups against AL Central opponents. Four games behind Chicago in the standings, I look for the Tribe to take 3 of 4 games on the road and start to get back in the race! It all starts Monday night with the Klubot on the mound…a great way to begin a winning streak.
Last-minute lineup changes with Carlos Santana a scratch due to back spasms.
|2B||Kipnis (L)||CF||Eaton (L)|
|SS||Ramirez (S)||LF||Cabrera (S)|
|Brantley (L)||1B||Abreu (R)|
|Raburn (R)||DH||Laroche (L)|
|Swisher (S)||RF||Garcia (R)|
|3B||Aviles (R)||3B||Gillaspie (L)|
|LF||Walters (S)||C||Flowers (R)|
|C||Perez (R)||2B||Sanchez (S)|