White Sox-Indians Preview
Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians
- The White Sox have won four straight games against the Indians, with three of the games decided by one run. Chicago is 7-3 against Cleveland this year after losing 17 of 19 matchups last season.
- Chicago has lost each of its last two games via walkoff, bringing its total of walkoff losses to five, tied for second most in the AL (Boston, 7).
- Cleveland has allowed just 42 runs (39 earned) over its last 14 games. The Indians' 2.74 ERA over that span leads the AL. Prior to that stretch, Cleveland's 4.18 ERA ranked 12th in the AL.
- Hector Noesi tossed 6.2 shutout innings in his last start to earn his third win of the year. In his previous five starts, he had a 5.40 ERA (17 ER/28.1 IP) with five home runs allowed.
- Corey Kluber has faced the White Sox twice this season, striking out 19 batters while allowing just three runs in 15.1 innings, but he has not earned a decision in either game (both 4-3 losses).
- Jose Abreu has 49 extra-base hits, the most ever by a rookie before the All-Star break, while his 195 total bases are third most all-time, five behind Mark McGwire's record of 200.
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By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- Corey Kluber won't be heading to the All-Star game after all, but that doesn't take away from how well the 28-year-old has pitched during a breakout campaign - especially recently.
The right-hander takes the mound Friday night as the Cleveland Indians seek their ninth victory in the last 10 home meetings with the Chicago White Sox.
Kluber (8-6, 2.86 ERA) has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last five starts and he's been especially solid over his last three, going 2-1 with a 0.82 ERA. He gave up four hits - including a solo homer - while striking out 10 through 8 1-3 innings of Sunday's 4-1 win over Kansas City.
After winning 11 games in his first full season with the Indians (45-46) in 2013, Kluber ranks among the AL leaders in ERA and strikeouts (137) and had a chance to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star game via the fan vote. White Sox starter Chris Sale was awarded the final spot Thursday.
"I'm trying to be as consistent as I can from start to start," Kluber said. "I try to avoid the downs as much as possible and keep the good stuff rolling."
Manager Terry Francona has been impressed with Kluber, who has allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his 13 starts since May. Kluber has pitched at least into the seventh in his last eight home starts and is 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA over his last seven at Progressive Field.
"He's very locked in," Francona said. "Maybe his demeanor belies the real fire that's in there. He gets after it."
Kluber gave up a home run to Jose Abreu in the first inning May 4 but allowed just two hits after that, striking out a career-high 13 over eight before the bullpen failed him in Cleveland's 4-3 loss - which ended the Indians' eight-game home winning streak against the White Sox.
Abreu is hitting .179 in seven games against the Indians with four of his five hits being homers, but he's hit safely in 23 of his last 24 overall while batting .347 with nine homers.
He had an RBI double in the first inning of Thursday's 4-3, 10-inning loss at Boston as Chicago (44-49) split the four-game series. Conor Gillaspie's pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth tied it.
Gillaspie homered in the final three games of the series, going 6 for 9 with five RBIs.
The White Sox hope Hector Noesi can stay hot as well after allowing five hits and striking out five over 6 2-3 innings of Sunday's 1-0 win over Seattle. Noesi (3-6, 4.90) went 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his previous five outings.
"He's confident," manager Robin Ventura said of Noesi, who was claimed off waivers from Texas on April 25. "Sometimes you get an opportunity and you run with it."
The right-hander also was solid against the Indians on May 28, giving up one run in 7 1-3 innings of Chicago's 3-2 win. Noesi again will look to stymie Cleveland's offense, which is averaging 5.3 runs while going 6-3 in July.
Jason Kipnis and Chris Dickerson each went 3 for 4, and Asdrubal Cabrera had a three-run triple in Thursday's 9-3 win over the New York Yankees. Roberto Perez went 2 for 3 and hit a two-run homer in his major league debut.
Dickerson was acquired in a trade from Pittsburgh on Monday and made his 2014 debut that day in the series opener against the Yankees, then proceeded to go 7 for 15 over the four games.
"It's one thing to come in and get settled on a new team, but to come in and start contributing right away, that's a big deal," Dickerson said.
Updated July 11, 2014