|Indians aim to maintain dominance of White Sox|
The Cleveland Indians will look to maintain their dominance over the Chicago White Sox when the teams face off Friday night to open a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
Cleveland (64-50) has won eight of its last 10 games against the White Sox this season with a whopping run differential of 61-25. The Indians swept the White Sox twice at home and split a four-game series in Chicago in June.
The Indians are riding high after outfielder Michael Brantley delivered a walk-off RBI single in Thursday's 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins. Francisco Lindor boosted his batting average to .298 by going 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. One day earlier, Lindor hit a game-winning homer to lift the red-hot Indians.
Chicago (41-73) has lost three in a row after being swept by the New York Yankees at the start of the week. The White Sox are on pace to lose 103 games, which would mark the second-to-worst season in franchise history (106 losses in 1970).
White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon (3-3, 2.94 ERA) will take the mound for his 11th start of the season. The 25-year-old hopes to maintain his recent hot streak as he has posted a 1.56 ERA (six earned runs in 34 2/3 innings) over his past five starts.
Rodon, who has not suffered a loss since June 30, is coming off his fifth quality start in a row against the Tampa Bay Rays. Despite walking five batters, he limited the Rays to one unearned run over six innings.
"I was a little up and down," Rodon said to the Chicago Tribune after his most recent outing. "You're going to have those days, and you have to see what you're made of."
In 12 career appearances (11 starts) against Cleveland, Rodon is 4-2 with a 2.71 ERA. He has tallied 73 strikeouts in 73 innings. This will be his third start of the season against the Indians, against whom he is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA this season.
For the Indians, right-hander Shane Bieber (6-2, 4.58 ERA) will make the 11th start of his rookie campaign. Barely two years have passed since the club selected him in the fourth round out of the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Bieber, 23, has notched seven strikeouts in back-to-back starts and three of his past five outings. He has fanned 58 batters in 57 innings on the season. This will be his first career appearance against the White Sox.
The Indians will not have veteran outfielder Leonys Martin, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Thursday because of an illness. The team recalled outfielder Greg Allen from Triple-A Columbus to fill Martin's spot.
"We'll continue to spend the month of August looking for opportunities to improve our team," Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "What impact Martin's condition or illness has on that, we're not yet sure. ... Our depth has definitely been tested. It's afforded us the chance to give some guys opportunities to play."
The Indians are starting a six-game road trip that includes a series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Cleveland is 27-27 on the road this season, while Chicago is 21-36 at home.