The Indians (4-2) were scheduled to open at home last Friday against Seattle, but heavy snow and biting cold postponed that entire four-game series. The wintry weather then forced Cleveland’s next home series against the Los Angeles Angels to be played under the retractable roof of Milwaukee’s Miller Park.
Having won two of three from the Angels, the Indians return to make their 2007 home debut against the White Sox (4-4), a club they took two of three from to open the season last week in Chicago.
“Road trip to Cleveland this weekend,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “It’s time to get back home.”
As of Friday night, the Web site for the National Weather Service is calling for partly cloudy conditions with a low of 31 degrees and diminishing winds.
“The weather’s definitely better inside (Miller Park) than probably what we’re headed back to,” said the Indians’ Travis Hafner, whose three-run homer in the eighth inning helped Cleveland to a 4-2 win over Los Angeles on Thursday.
Hafner went 2-for-4 and hit his first homer of the season in 22 at-bats. The Indians’ designated hitter hit a career-high 42 home runs in 2006.
“You know if you make consistent, hard contact, home runs will come,” Hafner said.
Grady Sizemore hit his fourth homer and scored twice in the win. He went 6-for-14 with seven runs, four RBIs and three homers last week against the White Sox.
“Like I said, they have a good club,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen told the team’s official Web site. “They have Superman (Sizemore) playing center field. That helps them, but you have to pitch.”
Cleveland scored 23 runs and had 35 hits last week against Chicago, but didn’t face Javier Vazquez (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who will make his second start of the season for the White Sox in Friday’s opener. Pitching in cold conditions should not bother Vazquez, who allowed one hit in 6 2-3 innings of Chicago’s 3-0 win over Minnesota on Saturday when temperatures were in the 30s.
Vazquez is 3-2 with a 4.13 lifetime ERA against Cleveland in eight starts. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA in four starts at Jacobs Field, with both wins coming last year.
Jermaine Dye went 2-for-5 and hit a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and Darin Erstad hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth inning as the White Sox won 6-3 at Oakland on Wednesday to take two of three in the set.
Dye was 2-for-20 without a homer coming into Wednesday’s game. He had a career-high 44 in 2006.
“Sooner or later, hopefully I would get a couple of hits,” said Dye, who was 7-for-21 (.333) with three homers and six RBIs last season at Jacobs Field.
Used mostly out of the bullpen as a rookie in 2006, Carmona went 1-4 with a 6.08 ERA in seven starts last season and was 1-10 with a 5.42 ERA overall in 74 2-3 innings.
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in four games - two starts - against the White Sox.