Published August 18, 2016
CLEVELAND -- Now that the Chicago White Sox have gotten the monkey off their back, they can go about trying to win a series from the Cleveland Indians. The two teams will meet Thursday night at Progressive Field in the final game of a three-game series.
The White Sox lost the first game 3-1 but won the second game in rousing fashion. Trailing 7-5 in the ninth inning, the White Sox scored five runs, four coming on a grand slam by Adam Eaton, giving Chicago a 10-7 victory.
That win halted the White Sox's seven-game losing streak to Cleveland.
"Nobody gave up. Guys just kept grinding, all the way through," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
"In the ninth, it would have been easy to go one, two, three, and just lay down. But we didn't give up. It was a total team effort," Eaton said.
The White Sox will try to carry that momentum into the series finale on Thursday. The White Sox will send lefty Carlos Rodon (3-8, 4.32 ERA) to the mound against Cleveland's Danny Salazar (11-4, 3.38).
Rodon has never lost to Cleveland. In six career appearances, five of them starts, against the Indians, Rodon is 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA.
Salazar will be making his first start since Aug. 1, when he pitched just two innings in a 12-5 loss to Minnesota. He went on the disabled the next day with right elbow inflammation.
Salazar was selected to the American League All-Star team but did not pitch in the game at the Indians' request because of concerns about the elbow. In five starts in June, Salazar was 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA. However, in his last five starts, he is 1-1 with a 7.88 ERA, capped by the trip onto the disabled list.
Thursday will be Salazar's ninth career start against the White Sox. His career record vs. Chicago is 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA. In two starts against the Sox this year, he is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
When Salazar is activated, he will take pitcher Josh Tomlin's spot on the roster. Tomlin was placed on the family emergency list on Wednesday and returned to his home in Tyler, Texas. The family emergency list is a 3-5 day list.
The Indians are 5-2 on the first seven games of their 11-game homestand, their longest homestand of the season.
One player who will be seeing less time in the lineup going forward is outfielder Abraham Almonte, who has done some good things offensively and defensively in the 29 games he has played.
In 81 at-bats Almonte is hitting .284 with a home run, nine RBIs and three stolen bases. However, he is ineligible for the postseason because of his being suspended for the first 80 games of this season for testing positive for steroids during spring training.
"There are going to be times in the next six weeks when Abe isn't an obvious choice (to be in the lineup) that we'll play some other guys," manager Terry Francona said. "Because if we're fortunate enough to move on (into the postseason), we're going to have to do it without him anyway."
That figures to mean more playing time for outfielder Brandon Guyer, who has given a boost to the lineup since being acquired on Aug. 1 in a trade with Tampa Bay.
In 11 games with the Indians, Guyer is hitting .654 (17-for-26) with a home run and eight RBIs.