Roster Moves: This series will see a couple of changes to the lineup that should help the team offensively. Shin-Soo Choo is expected to return from his 5 game absence to take back his starting right field job from Aaron Cunningham. He has been bothered by a strained hamstring. The other addition will be new left-fielder Johnny Damon. He will most likely be taking Shelley Duncan‘s place in the startling lineup and in left field on a semi-regular basis. Damon has been getting ready for the season in Goodyear and will be going straight into Major League action, bypassing the usual trip through the minors. Damon will likely hit in the bottom half of a reordered lineup that should include Jason Kipnis at the top. It is still unknown which player will be sent down/released to make room for Damon, but it will most likely be Aaron Cunningham.
Last series the Indians were able to keep the Angels on their losing ways, taking two out of three from the AL West favorites and only allowing a total of four runs in the three game series. With the wins, the Indians were able to maintain their first place spot in the Central Division (one game ahead of both Chicago and Detroit. Of course, any wins the Tribe get now will go a long way in keeping them competitive when the division chase is coming down the line.
This series will feature all the pitchers that threw in the rain shortened two game series between the White Sox and Indians in early April. Chris Sale was one of those starters and he was very impressive in what was his first Major League start. Sale pitched into the 7th and only allowed one run while striking out 5. He was only pulled from the game because he hit the 100 pitch mark. Since that game he has continued his success, pitching at least 5 innings in every game and never allowing more than 3 runs. He has thrown at least 100 pitches in each game so far and managed to stretch it through the 8th inning his last time out. Chris Sale is making the White Sox look good with their decision to change him from closer to starting pitcher, an experiment that doesn’t always work out.
Ubaldo Jimenez will be pitching against the White Sox for the first time this year as he was still serving his suspension the last time they were in Cleveland. His goal should be to at least get into the 7th inning as he hasn’t pitched past the 6th his last three times out. The main reason for this has been his lack of control. Jimenez has walked at least three batters every game this season and has actually struck out less batters than he has walked, not even close to the 2-1 ratio expected amongst power pitchers.
Josh Tomlin took the loss in the first game against Chicago this season, but did not pitch all that badly. He has been a little unpredictable to this point in the season, going from an 8 inning start with 7 strike outs to a start of less than 5 innings and only one strike out. One thing that has remained consistent with Josh is his control. So far this year he has only walked three batters in 4 games.
Humber missed the first series battle between these two teams due to the rain out, but has made some news since then as he pitched Major League Baseball’s 21st perfect game ever. He was the third White Sox pitcher to throw a perfect game, the most recent before him being Mark Buehrle‘s perfecto in 2009. Some have questioned the validity of his perfect game since it came against a minor league team, the Seattle Mariners.
The Indians ace finally pitched like an ace in his last time out as he went into the 9th and only allowed two runs. Vinnie Pestano relieved him and earned the win in that game, but Masterson finally showed what Indians fans have been waiting for all year. He will go up against the White Sox ace in this matchup, who beat him in their first bout earlier this year. Masterson only gave up three earned runs in that game, but the 2 unearned runs are the ones that cost him. With the Indians improved defense (Choo and Damon) and offense they should provide a much better game for the White Sox this time around.