Series Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox

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A little over a week into the season and there are two things you need to know. First, the insanely irrational, born-in-Cleveland-and-seen-more-sports-related-crap-go-wrong-than-I-can-even-begin-to-recollect side of me is freaking out right now. Second, the more rational and understanding side of me realizes that we’ve only seen a very small sample size and there is a lot more baseball to be played. Be warned, both sides are going to come raging out at various points of this preview.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s begin.

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After the ups and (mostly) downs of the first week and a half of the season, the Indians are going to get a chance to right the ship against the Chicago White Sox. Excuse me if I don’t sound more excited about this, but that’s only because the White Sox have made a regular habit of not only beating us when we’re down, but also humiliating us in the process. I hate the White Sox. No seriously, I legitimately hate them. In the pantheon of Cleveland sports hatred I’d place them next to Michigan, LeBron James, and John Elway.

Luckily, the Sox aren’t off to the greatest of starts either. At 4-5, they come into tonight’s game having just lost three in a row to a Washington Nationals team that looks primed to make a deep October run. However, before the Washington series the Sox had won their first two series of the year against the division leading Royals and the lowly Mariners. But which team will show up and, more importantly, which team is the real Chicago White Sox? Honestly, it’s probably too early to tell at this point.

One thing we do know is that so far in 2013 the White Sox have struggled offensively. They’re currently ranked 25th in runs scored, 22nd in batting average, and 28th in on-base percentage. All of this comes as a bit of a surprise considering they are 14th in the league in slugging. They’re hitting the ball hard and getting extra base hits, but they can’t seem to put it all together. Hopefully this is a trend that continues. The Indians could use three games against a team struggling offensively.

Then again, members of the Yankees were struggling offensively, most notably Robinson Cano, and Indians pitching was exactly what they needed to break out of their early-season slumps. So while Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko might not be putting up their typical numbers, this might just be the series they need to get themselves going. Actually, why kid ourselves? Everyone knows Paul Konerko is going to hit .800, belt three home runs and drive in 10 runs over the next three days. That’s just what he does when we face him.

As for the Indians, things are looking like a train wreck at the moment. Offensively it’s either feast or famine. From game to game they look like a burgeoning offensive juggernaut or like they’ve never even swung a bat before. Sure, there are a lot of positives to take from the lineup so far: Mark Reynolds and Michael Bourn are looking like quality investments, Carlos Santana is off to his best start in two seasons, Michael Brantley continues to impress as he develops. Unfortunately it just hasn’t been enough.

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And then there’s the pitching. Oh Lord, the pitching. The pitching staff basically starts with Justin Masterson and that’s about it. In his two starts, Masterson is 2-0 with an 0.69 ERA and a strikeout an inning. Whatever was wrong with him in 2012 appears to be behind him so far in 2013. Meanwhile, the rest of the staff is 0-5 with an ERA hovering over 8.00. We were all afraid that the pitching staff might struggle, but so far the issues have been more glaring than most of us expected.

But like I already said, it’s way to early to be passing full judgement on a team. Eight games does not a season make. It takes at least 40 games to really know who your team is and where true expectations should lie. Until then, everyone needs to relax and just take it one game at a time.

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