The Indians were able to work against a split against the tough Orioles, giving them five series in a row that they've won or split. They are moving on to Chicago where they will play four games in three days, giving them a great chance to make up the 2.5 defecit that remains behind the Detroit Tigers. The White Sox are the worst team in the division and ahead of only Houston in the American League, so the Indians should have little trouble taking that series.
Game 1: Friday, June 28th 5:10 PM EDT
Trevor Bauer, RHP, 1-2, 2.76 ERA vs Hector Santiago, LHP, 3-5, 3.03 ERA
The Indians will need to make a roster move prior to the game to add Bauer back to the team for his fourth game in 2013. Bauer has been fantastic, especially in his last two starts, where he has gotten in fast ball under control and been absolutely dominant. With the announcement that Brett Myers will be sent to the bullpen upon his return, it opens up the chance that Bauer could be entered into the starting rotation for good if one of the other starters fails at some point. This start should go far to seeing if he is truly ready for a full time role.
The Indians have little experience against Santiago, who is in his second year and playing incredibly well for the Sox. The current members of the Tribe are batting just .182 against the lefty and have yet to knock in a single run against him. This will be his first start against Cleveland this year with their revamped offense, so it will be interesting to see how he fares against the more right handed heavy Indians lineup. This would be a good game for Mark Reynolds to turn his cold spell around as he will hit against Santiago for the first time.
Game 2: Friday, June 28th TBD
Carlos Carrasco, RHP, 0-3, 7.78 vs Jose Quintana, LHP, 3-2, 3.83 ERA
The Indians top brass are playing around the rules this weekend, taking advantage of the new rule that allows a team to have 26 players for a double header. Carrasco was sent to AAA just a few days ago and is allowed to be brought back before his 10 days are up because of the new rule. He will then be sent back down after the game and will be allowed to be brought back to make his next start as well. In the time between it has allowed the Indians to carry an extra relief pitcher, first T.J. House and then Chris Perez. Carrasco has struggled much this year and is likely to be replaced within his next two starts by either the return of Zach McAllister or Bauer.
This will be Quintana's second game against the Indians this year, his first being a seven inning shut out in April. This game will feature the biggest disparity in quality between starting pitchers in this series and, barring a tremendous turn around by Carrasco, will be very difficult for the Indians to win.
Game 3: Saturday, June 29th 4:10 PM EDT
Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, 6-4, 4.58 ERA vs Dylan Axelrod, RHP, 3-4, 4.57 ERA
Jimenez has been great for three starts in a row and his ERA is at a season low. In those starts he has struck out 14 in 16 innings and earned two wins. He has been solid through five innings almost every game out and the Indians bullpen is well rested after a fairly well pitched series in Baltimore. If Jimenez can pitch his average and allow two or three runs through five innings, the Indians should have no problem winning this game.
Axelrod has struggled during his last three starts, giving up 14 runs in 14.2 innings. The Indians have struggled against him in the past with just four different hitters having a single hit against him. Lonnie Chisenhall, who is in on a small hot streak after his series against the Orioles, has had the most success against Axelrod as his one hit was a double.
Game 4: Sunday, June 30th 2:10 PM EDT
Justin Masterson, RHP, 9-6, 3.76 ERA vs Chris Sale, RHP, 5-6, 2.75 ERA
The series finale will be a prime pitching match-up, featuring two starters who could definitely be playing for the AL in the 2013 All-Star Game. Masterson has had a poor month of June, but could help make it look a little better with one more strong start against the White Sox on the final day of the month. Sale's biggest drawback this season has been playing for a bad team with no offense, pointing towards his poor win-loss record. He has also seen a fall back in June after posting an ERA under 1.00 during May. This should be a great game between two great starters trying to get back on track against two offenses that have struggled a lot this year.