The Cleveland Indians are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season and are running away with the American League Central. The hottest team in the majors will try to push its winning streak to 13 straight when it visits the last-place Chicago White Sox in the second of a four-game series on Tuesday.
Cleveland’s pitching staff is allowing an average of 1.8 runs during the 12-game winning streak, during which the Indians have opened a 10-game lead in the AL Central while pulling within three games of the Houston Astros for the best record in the AL. “It’s pretty similar (to winning 14 in a row last year),” infielder Jose Ramirez told reporters through an interpreter. “I see the team feeling the same way. We’re happy, we’re relaxed, we’re united and that’s something that’s really important.” That stellar Cleveland pitching staff is about to get even stronger with the return of Danny Salazar, who comes off the disabled list to make the start on Tuesday opposite White Sox left-hander David Holmberg. Chicago dropped five of its last seven games but continues to add young talent to its roster, with right fielder Rymer Liriano the latest to make an impact by homering on Monday.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, STO (Cleveland), CSN Chicago-plus
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Danny Salazar (5-6, 4.30 ERA) vs. White Sox LH David Holmberg (2-3, 3.55)
Salazar figures to be on a pitch limit after missing the last two weeks with elbow soreness. The Dominican Republic native was knocked around in his last start prior to hitting the DL but had surrendered two or fewer runs in five straight outings through Aug. 15 while notching at least eight strikeouts in each turn. Salazar earned a win at Chicago on July 28 while allowing two runs on three hits and striking out eight.
Holmberg is making a return to the rotation for the first time since June 26 after a three-week stint in the minors preceded by a mostly successful stint in the bullpen. The 26-year-old is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six starts while posting a 3.24 ERA in 27 relief appearances for the White Sox. Holmberg’s lone win as a starter came at Cleveland on June 10, when he allowed two runs and three hits in five innings.
1. White Sox RHP James Shields left Monday’s game after being hit in the knee with a line drive, and X-rays came back negative.
2. Ramirez is 9-for-17 with eight extra-base hits in the last four games.
3. Cleveland OF Jay Bruce (neck soreness) sat out the last three games and is day-to-day.
PREDICTION: Indians 8, White Sox 2