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Series Preview: Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians

The Chicago White Sox had an up-and-down homestand to start their 2017 season, as they went 2-3 against two Central Division foes, and now they’ll hit the road for their first games away from the Windy City.

The road trip is a long one for the White Sox, as they’ll play three games apiece in Cleveland, Minnesota, and New York. On the trip they’ll face some tough pitchers, including Carlos Carrasco, Ervin Santana, and Masahiro Tanaka, and they’ll face three teams eager to prove that they’ve got what it takes to make a run toward the postseason.

Things get started for the Sox on Tuesday afternoon as they take on the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, and the defending American League champions, while ridiculously inconsistent in their games so far, are looking to defend that title on their home field for the first time this season.

Here is our breakdown of the series to come for the White Sox.

Tuesday 3:10 p.m.: James Shields (1-0) vs. Carlos Carrasco (1-0)

Shields looked solid in his first start for the White Sox, giving up just one earned run and striking out five batters, but he’ll be up against a stern test Tuesday. Francisco Lindor is only batting .214 so far this season against right-handed pitching, but his hits have been big ones as he’s already smacked two home runs and driven in six RBI against righties this season.

Shields will need to work on his control, as he walked five batters in just over five innings in the 11-2 victory. His team’s offensive output helped make his start a successful one, but he obviously won’t be able to count on that kind of production on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, Carrasco is coming off of a strong start against Texas, where he allowed two earned runs and struck out seven Rangers batters as he earned his first victory of the season.

Wednesday 5:10 p.m.: Derek Holland (0-1) vs. Danny Salazar (0-0)

Avisail Garcia has absolutely pounded right-handed pitching this season, racking up four RBI and an impressive .429 batting average in the early going. He has shown some poor plate discipline, striking four times already, and he’ll have to be a bit more patient against Salazar and the Indians.

Patience will the key for the White Sox against the Cleveland hurler, as he had difficulty finding the strike zone at times in his first start of the year. The hurler did strike out nine batters, but he also walked four and only made it through five and two-thirds innings as he picked up a no-decision for the Tribe.

Thursday 5:10 p.m.: Miguel Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Mike Tomlin (0-1)

Miguel Gonzalez looked strong in his first start of the season for the White Sox, striking out six batters and walking just two in six innings of work. He did give up a home run, but he was also able to induce 11 ground balls in a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Another player that has hit well against righties so far this season is Carlos Santana, who has three doubles and four RBI in 16 at-bats against righties thus far. He’s also coaxed a pair of walks, showing some solid plate discipline that helped elevate his on-base percentage to .333 in the early going. 

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