The Cleveland Indians signed Johnny Damon two weeks ago to jumpstart their struggling offense. Tonight, he gets a chance to do just that when the Indians start a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Damon, though, will be joining a team that has managed just 17 runs over their last seven games (3-4) and have scored two runs or less in four of those contests. The club is currently mired in an 11-game homerless drought that dates back to April 17.
That marks the longest power outage for the team since going 14 games without a home run in 1983.
Damon, who will likely leadoff for the Tribe, may not be the player he once was, but is a career .286 hitter over 17 seasons with the Royals, A's, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and Rays. He's also cracked 231 homers and is also just 277 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Last year the 38-year-old hit .261 with 16 home runs, 29 doubles and 73 RBI with 19 stolen bases in 150 games for Tampa Bay last year.
But, while the offense may be floundering, Damon also joins an Indians team that currently sits atop the American League Central standings after taking two of three from the hapless Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim over the weekend, including a 4-0 win in Sunday's rubber match.
Hoping to keep the Tribe in the win column tonight will be right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Jimenez suffered his first loss of the season on Wednesday to Kansas City, as he allowed four runs and six hits in six innings. He also walked three batters and has issued 13 free passes in 24 innings this season.
Jimenez has faced the White Sox four times and is 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA.
Chicago snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday, as Gavin Floyd tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball and carried a no-hitter into the seventh to help the White Sox get by the Boston Red Sox, 4-1, in the finale of a four-game set.
Getting the call for the White Sox tonight will be lefty Chris Sale, who is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA. Sale did not get a decision on Wednesday in Oakland, but was terrific, as he yielded just two runs and six hits in eight innings. He also struck out five without walking a batter.
Sale beat the Indians in his first big league start back on April 9, limiting them to a run in 6 2/3 frames. In 11 overall appearances against them he has pitched to a 1.77 ERA.
The White Sox, who won the first two meetings this season, are 8-3-1 in season series with the Tribe since 2000.