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Preview: Indians (67-69) at White Sox (65-71)
Venue: U.S. Cellular Field
Date: September 08, 2015 8:10 PM EDT
The five-start span Carlos Carrasco was on prior to landing on the disabled list was one of the best of his career, bettered only by a similar run this time last year.
After resting his pitching arm, the right-hander returns Tuesday night in Chicago against a White Sox team that handed him his last poor outing.
In his last start before heading to the DL with shoulder inflammation, Carrasco (12-9, 3.53 ERA) limited the New York Yankees to a run and five hits with 11 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-3 victory on Aug. 21. It improved him to 2-1 with a 1.36 ERA and .134 opponents’ batting average with 40 strikeouts and six walks in his last 39 2-3 innings.
He also has a 1.17 ERA in his last six road outings and is 8-3 with a 2.41 ERA and both of his complete games in 13 away outings.
“I didn’t like it when I went to the DL,” Carrasco told MLB’s official website. “… But, it’s part of baseball, so I went to the DL. I’m going to come off on Tuesday. I’m ready to go pitch.”
He enjoyed similar dominance in six starts from Aug. 10-Sept. 7, 2014, going 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA. The last of them came against the White Sox, but this season has been a different story in the series.
He is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA and .928 opponent OPS in three starts to drop him to 3-6 with a 5.75 mark in 11 career starts against Chicago. Melky Cabrera (7 for 15 with a home run) and Adam Eaton (5 for 12) have enjoyed the most success, but Avisail Garcia is 0 for 9.
Carrasco is up against Carlos Rodon, whose own strong stretch hasn’t been interrupted by injury, and the left-hander has had more success in the season series.
Rodon (6-6, 4.10 ERA) gave up two runs and five hits in six-plus innings of Wednesday’s 3-0 loss in Minnesota, but he’s 2-2 with a 1.85 ERA in his last five starts. It’s come with a 2.38 run-support average.
“He’s got good stuff, and he’s been doing well,” manager Robin Ventura said. “We have to put something on the board to help him out.”
The 22-year-old rookie is 1-0 with a 0.71 ERA in two starts against Cleveland while limiting top hitters Michael Brantley (1 for 7 with three strikeouts) and Jason Kipnis (0 for 6).
That lefty-hitting duo was out of the lineup as the Indians (67-69) began the series by overcoming Chicago ace Chris Sale in Monday’s 3-2 win to end the White Sox’s four-game winning streak.
Ryan Raburn moved into the cleanup spot and homered in both of his at-bats, and the outfielder is 10 for 20 with three homers and three doubles in his last nine games. He’s batting .321 with a 1.000 OPS against left-handed pitching this season and is 2 for 6 against Rodon, so Terry Francona could again find room for him in the lineup. Four of his eight multihomer games have come against Chicago (65-71), and he’s hitting .340 with 11 home runs and a 1.037 OPS in his last 43 games at U.S. Cellular Field.
“I think everybody’s got those places where they do well in,” Raburn said. “Fortunately, for me, this is one of them because we play them so much. Hopefully, it continues tomorrow.”
Cleveland has gone 22-15 dating to July 29 – the day before Carrasco’s run started – and it can get within a game of .500 for the first time since being 27-28 on June 6. It’s also won four straight at U.S. Cellular.