The red hot Indians head to the Windy City this weekend for a rendezvous with the Sox in the South Side. Winners of seven straight in their just-completed home stand, the Tribe will see a few new faces in the opposing dugout as the White Sox continue to purge their top talent for prospects.
Danny Salazar (3-5, 4.79 ERA) gets the nod tonight in the series opener.
Salazar returned to the team with a bang last Saturday night going seven innings and allowing just one hit with eight strikeouts. He was left with a no decision after Andrew Miller allowed a game-tying home run in the eighth in an eventual extra inning victory.
One start does not a recovery make, however, and tonight’s effort by Salazar will give the front office additional information as the league approaches the July 31st waiver deadline. If Salazar comes up with another big outing, the front office should be able to consider a more formidable rotation of Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar and Clevinger along with Bauer and Tomlin for the final two months of the season. If not, well, there’s still two months to figure things out.
The White Sox (39-60) are down a few players since they last saw the Indians on June 11th. Ace Jose Quintana (6-8, 4.22) now pitches for the North Side Cubbies. Third Baseman Todd Frazier (.212, 17 HR, 46 RBI) is in Yankee pinstripes along with closer David Robertson (2.65 ERA, 13 SV) and reliever Tommy Kahnle (2.23 ERA in 42 games).
The White Sox may be a force in a few years as their newly acquired prospects start to mature, but this is a team ripe for the picking if the Indians want to lay their claim to the Central Division title in 2017.
Opposing Salazar tonight will be Chicago’s current innings pitched leader, Derek Holland (5-9, 5.12).
Once a good young pitcher for some Texas Ranger playoff teams, Holland is better than halfway through his first healthy season since 2013, although the results do not quite match the pitcher who went 49-38 with a 4.36 ERA and 1.332 WHIP from ages 22 to 26. The left-hander has a 1.50 WHIP in 102 innings and has been lenient with the free pass this season at 3.7 BB/9.
Line-ups are below and first pitch is at 8:10pm.