While the Cleveland Indians spent Sunday praising the stellar performance of their relievers, the Chicago White Sox were lamenting numerous missed opportunities to score and a tough play one of their relievers was unable to make.
Cleveland hopes to continue getting standout relief pitching whilethe White Sox want better performances in clutch situations Monday when the AL Central rivals start a four-game series in Chicago.
Cleveland enters on a four-game winning streak after concluding a three-game series of the Detroit Tigers with a 5-2 victory on Sunday. The win was highlighted by four stellar innings from the quartet of Bryan Shaw, Nick Wittgren, James Karinchak and closer Emmanuel Clase, who threw over 100 mph on seven pitches in the ninth.
"They're awesome," said Cleveland right-hander Logan Allen, who allowed two runs in five innings Sunday. "Our 'pen has it. We have the dudes. We have the ability, and it's going to be exciting how this turns out over the next five or six months."
Chicago lost three of its first four games but then went 12-for-39 (.307) with runners in scoring position in winning three of its next four contests. On Sunday, the White Sox blew a pair of one-run leads and took a 4-3 loss when Garrett Crochet misplayed a bunt by Andrew Benintendi in the 10th inning against the Kansas City Royals.
"The bunt hopped up on him," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. "If it had stayed down, you practice underhanding it, but it came up, so he had to go over the top, so it was a tough play for him."
The misplay occurred on a day when the White Sox wasted numerous chances. They drew nine walks but also stranded 12 runners and went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
Chicago's only runs came via an RBI double from Leury Garcia and a two-run pinch-hit homer by Adam Eaton in the eighth. The White Sox blew the game when Liam Hendriks allowed a homer to Carlos Santana in a 28-pitch ninth, and it occurred on a day when Luis Robert, Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada were a combined 2-for-14 to continue their respective slow starts.
Robert is hitting .250 but Abreu is off to an 8-for-37 start (.216) and Moncada is off to a 5-for-31 start (.161)
Cleveland's rotation owns a 2.70 ERA, and the Indians will open the series with Triston McKenzie (0-0, 2>45 ERA), who is making his seventh career start. McKenzie went 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA in six starts last season and began this season by allowing a run, two hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings during last Monday's loss to Kansas City.
The right-hander is starting against Chicago for the first time. His only appearance against the White Sox was a two-inning stint when he struck out three on Sept. 23.
McKenzie is getting the start though the Indians will monitor his workload closely since he went two years without pitching due to injuries and threw 33 1/3 innings last season.
Carlos Rodon (1-0, 0.00), who missed the majority of last season due to left shoulder soreness, is hoping to build off an encouraging outing. He allowed two hits in five scoreless frames last Monday in Seattle.
Rodon is 5-5 with a 2.94 ERA in 17 career appearances (15 starts) against Cleveland.
--Field Level Media