Garland will try to rectify his past problems when he leads the Chicago White Sox against the visiting Indians in the opener of a three-game series.
The 23-year-old right-hander, who is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in three starts against Cleveland this season, is 1-7 with a 7.26 ERA in 10 career appearances, including nine starts, against the Indians.
However, Garland is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA over his last three starts overall, including Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Detroit. He yielded two runs and five hits over six innings, striking out eight and walking four.
On the strength of an improved off-speed pitch, Garland has 18 strikeouts over his last 13 innings, after striking out just 21 in his previous 41 innings.
“I think his breaking ball has gotten a lot better—I’m seeing a lot of swings and misses from that,” White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. “It has gotten a little bite to it, and that’s been an effective pitch for him lately.”
Chicago is coming in after being swept two straight by the Boston Red Sox, capped by Wednesday’s 5-4, 10-inning loss.
The White Sox have dropped four of six to fall into a first-place tie with the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central.
The Indians come in after losing the final three games of their four-game series against the league-worst Detroit Tigers, including Thursday’s 2-1 defeat.
STANDINGS: Indians - 4th place, 12 GB, AL Central. White Sox - 1st place (tied), AL Central.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Billy Traber (6-7, 4.61 ERA). Traber, who is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA over his last four starts, hasn’t won since a 3-0 victory over Seattle on Aug. 7. The 23-year-old left-hander didn’t receive a decision in Cleveland’s 5-4 win over Toronto on Sunday, allowing four runs and five hits over 5 2-3 innings. The rookie is 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in three career appearances, including one start, against the White Sox.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Garland (10-10, 4.39 ERA). Opponents are hitting .260 and have an on-base percentage of .325 against Garland, who has struck out 96 and walked 59 in 162 innings this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Indians - Milton Bradley, .321 avg. and 17 SBs.; Jody Gerut, 19 HRs and 68 RBIs; Casey Blake, 71 runs. White Sox - Magglio Ordonez, .322 avg. and 85 runs; Frank Thomas, 38 HRs; Carlos Lee, 96 RBIs and 13 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 8-8.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Indians - Cleveland is 5-3-1 over his last nine series. … SS Omar Vizquel is expected to have minor arthroscopic knee surgery in the next few days to repair a torn ligament. He will miss the rest of the season. … GM Mark Shapiro said the Indians do not plan to take any action against OF Bradley after he was cited for speeding and fleeing when an officer tried to ticket him outside of Cleveland early Saturday morning. White Sox - Chicago is 18-22 in one-run games this season but 7-4 in extra-inning games. … 1B-DH Thomas has reached base in 12 straight games, batting .317 (13-for-41) over that span. … OF Lee is hitting .429 (12-for-28) over his last six games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Indians - 27-43 on the road; White Sox - 43-25 at home.
INJURIES: Indians - OF Bradley (back), 15-day DL; SS Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; INF John McDonald (back), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Ricky Gutierrez (back), 60-day DL. White Sox - LHP Josh Stewart (hand), 15-day DL.