White Sox 2, Indians 0
CHICAGO, August 7th – In the series opener Friday, the Cleveland Indians were shutout by the Chicago White Sox. It was the third time this season that the Indians were shutout by an opposing time. Furthermore, this is the start of the second series of three this year between Cleveland and Chicago. If you recall, when the two teams squared off at the end of July, Cleveland came away with the series win (2-1).
Unfortunately for the Indians, the starting pitching shined once again during the series opener. The downfall was the offense though and this comes on the heels of a game where the Indians bats exploded to life on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds. Leading up to Thursday’s game, the Indians offense struggled to do anything impactful.
Friday, the same storyline came to light again. In total, Cleveland recorded four hits along with eight walks and six strikeouts over 28 at-bats. In addition, the Indians offense went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position (RISP) and left 10 men on base.
Indians Lineup Struggles
On paper, the Cleveland Indians lineup looks very potent especially from the leadoff position to the five-hole. If everyone was healthy and clicking at the same time, it has the potential to be one of the best lineups in baseball. After all, the Indians lineup features sneaky power hitters and guys that can hit the ball over the fence at any minute. They also feature five switch hitters as well.
However, the lineup has failed to demonstrate that to this point so far this season with the exception of last night’s aforementioned game. After going 3-for-5 at the plate Thursday, third baseman Jose Ramirez followed that up Friday by going 0-for-4. During Friday’s game, Ramirez recorded one strikeout and left six men on base.
Additionally, shortstop Francisco Lindor still has yet to get going offensively. On the season, Lindor is batting .220 with three home runs, nine RBI, and a .677 OPS over 59 at-bats. First baseman Carlos Santana is yet another Indians hitter that has yet to do much at the plate. Santana currently has a .182 average with eight hits, one home run, three RBI, 17 walks, and 13 strikeouts over 44 at-bats.
Fortunately, one bright spot for the Indians has been in the leadoff spot with second baseman Cesar Hernandez. After signing with Cleveland as a free agent this past offseason, Hernandez is currently batting .314/.426/.373 over 51 at-bats. While the power is virtually non-existent (zero home runs), he does have 16 hits, three doubles, six RBI, and nine walks.
Indians Aaron Civale Shutdowns White Sox Lineup
Once again, as mentioned earlier, the starting pitching delivered for the Indians. Aaron Civale threw seven innings while giving up one run along with one walk on five hits and recorded five strikeouts. On the year, he now has a 2.84 ERA over three games and 19 innings.
During Friday’s game, Civale had all five of his pitches working. His bread and butter pitch (the four-seamer) was his primary pitch. He threw it 38 times and it resulted in 13 called strikes. Additionally, he averaged a velocity of 91.7 miles per hour (MPH) with it. Beyond that, Civale threw his cutter 24 times, recorded three called strikes with his slider, and relied on his mid-70’s curveball and upper-80’s changeup.
In regards to the White Sox offense, they recorded five singles with Civale on the mound. All five of those singles were four-seamers that Civale had thrown. Shortstop Danny Mendick recorded two of the five. One had an exit velocity of 99.8 MPH while the other came off the bat at 102 MPH.
Other Indians News from Friday
Besides the series opener Friday, the Indians announced before the game that hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo was opting out of the 2020 season. Zack Meisel, who covers the Indians for The Athletic, had the news first on Twitter.
Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo is opting out of the 2020 season.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) August 7, 2020
Van Burkleo announced that the leave of absence was because he didn’t want to continue putting his health or the health of his family at risk. The 57-year old has been with the Indians since the 2013 regular season. Prior to that, he served as the Houston Astros interim hitting coach starting in August of 2012.
The Indians have a quick turnaround prior to the start of Saturday’s game. The first pitch happens at 1:10 Eastern. Right-hander Zach Plesac (0-1, 1.80 ERA) gets the start for Cleveland while right-hander Matt Foster (1-0, 0.00 ERA) gets the nod for Chicago. Saturday will mark Foster’s first official MLB start.
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