After winning a pair of series over the AL’s two best teams, the Chicago White Sox would seem to get a breather with three home games against one of the league’s worst clubs starting Friday night.
The Cleveland Indians, however, are surprisingly playing some of their best baseball of the season.
Following a seven-game road trip that netted one victory, the White Sox (56-53) returned home to win five of seven against New York and Los Angeles, just missing sweeps over both teams.
Chicago’s attempt to take three straight over the Angels was dashed with Thursday’s 9-5 loss. The White Sox held the majors’ best-hitting team to six runs and 11 hits in the first two wins, but Los Angeles scored six in the first three innings Thursday and finished with four homers among its 11 hits.
Trailing Detroit by two games in the AL Central, Chicago’s series against the Indians (46-62) might seem like a good way to make up that deficit, but Cleveland comes into U.S. Cellular Field searching for its 11th win in 16 games.
Crowe had a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning of Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Minnesota.
“It’s tough to see guys you’ve played with for years go away,” designated hitter Travis Hafner(notes) said. “When you have young guys with character, it usually takes them about 5 minutes to get in step.”
Trading Lee to Philadelphia on July 29 left the Indians with a starting rotation that has four pitchers under 27 years old, and they will turn to 26-year-old left-hander Jeremy Sowers(notes) (3-7, 4.97 ERA) on Friday.
Sowers did not get a decision Saturday night against Detroit despite allowing two runs and four hits over six innings of a 4-3 loss in 12. He is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts this season against the White Sox.
Buehrle, however, has posted a 10.13 ERA in consecutive losses following his perfect game July 23 against Tampa Bay. He has a 2.57 ERA in back-to-back wins over the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox have won 16 of 22.
Chicago has split its six home meetings with the Indians this year. The White Sox lead the season series 7-5 after going 11-7 against the Indians in 2008.