CHICAGO- Heading into Sunday’s series finale with the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago White Sox (7-9) are in dire need of some offense. The first place Indians (10-7) have won the first two games of this series by a combined score of 10-0, and have dropped the Sox to fourth place in the American League Central Division in the process. So far Cleveland has lived up to it’s reputation as one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball.
“They have been pitching very, very well the last couple of days against us,” said White Sox manager Rick Renteria.
Despite their difficulty to score against Cleveland, Renteria isn’t letting his players get down on themselves.
“You gotta keep (the players) from beating themselves up,” he said. “Trying harder isn’t going to make it better. You have to refocus and try to relax a little bit.”
So far the Indians have held the Sox to six total hits in this series. They’ve only given up three total walks while striking out a combined 19 White Sox hitters. Renteria says that his players have lost their “two strike approach” that they established coming out of spring training.
“When you get to battling against really good pitching, the one thing that you must have in the end is a really good two strike approach. I think that the last couple of days we’ve kind of gotten away from that two strike approach,” he says.
That two strike approach will be key as Cleveland sends powerful right hander Danny Salazar (1-1, 3.57 ERA) to the mound. The 27-year-old has only given up three runs while striking out 18 in his last two starts combined. And he’ll be looking to take advantage of a White Sox team that is a far cry from the one that took two out of three from the Indians at the beginning of the season.
“Confidence is the biggest thing that we’re trying to maintain with every player…. The biggest challenge that we (the coaches) have is to make sure that they focus on their approaches and the things that they’re supposed to be doing to give themselves a chance,” Renteria says.
Confidence will also be key if the White Sox hope to win the rubber match of this series. Here are the lineups for Sundays game…
Carlos Santana 1B
Francisco Lindor SS
Brandon Guyer LF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Jose Ramirez 3B
Austin Jackson CF
Abraham Almonte RF
Roberto Perez C
Michael Martinez 2B
Pitcher: Danny Salazar (1-1, 3.57 ERA)
Chicago White Sox
Tim Anderson SS
Tyler Saladino 2B
Melky Cabrera DH
Jose Abreu 1B
Todd Frazier 3B
Avisail Garcia RF
Leury Garcia CF
Omar Narvaez C
Jacob May LF
Pitcher: Derek Holland (1-2, 2.16 ERA)