The Cleveland Indians are doing their best to undo the damage that resulted from a season-high eight-game losing streak.
Winners of three of their past four contests, the Indians (29-24) look to continue their recent good fortune on Monday when they open a four-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox (34-19).
Jose Ramirez hit a pair of homers and drove in four runs in Cleveland’s 7-4 victory over Detroit on Sunday, trimming his team’s magic number to two in a bid to secure a postseason berth. An Indians’ win and a Seattle Mariners’ loss to Houston on Monday would put Cleveland back in the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
Ramirez has recorded a multi-homer performance in two of his past four games and 16 times in his career.
“After I hit a home run, I leave it in the past and focus on the next at-bat, because that’s what really matters,” Ramírez said through an interpreter. “Just focusing on executing my next at-bat.”
Ramirez has done well for himself in that regard. He is batting 17-for-38 (.447) with six homers and 12 RBIs in his past nine games overall and leads the Indians in average (.284), homers (15), RBIs (38), runs scored (39), on-base percentage (.369) and slugging percentage (.574).
“Jose Ramirez is an inspiration to all the players because he’s always happy,” Indians interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. “He’s really (supporting) the players in the dugout, yelling, making sure everybody’s motivated. He’s one of those guys that COVID hasn’t even been bringing him down, because he’s just motivated all the time. We’re living in a new norm where everybody is kind of down all the time, but he’s a guy that sparks us all the time.”
Cleveland right-hander Aaron Civale (3-5, 3.80 ERA) is searching for a spark after posting an 0-3 record in his last five trips to the mound.
Civale, who last won on Aug. 19 following a complete-game gem, sports a 2-2 record with a 3.38 ERA in four career outings against Chicago. The 25-year-old allowed one run on five hits in seven innings of a hard-luck 2-0 setback on Aug. 7.
Chicago’s Yoan Moncada is 5-for-9 in his career vs. Civale while Tim Anderson is 3-for-8 with a solo homer.
Anderson, who is in a battle for his second straight American League batting crown, hopes to be back in the lineup after experiencing a cramp in his right hamstring. He is listed as day-to-day.
“If I’m 100 percent sure he’s good, he’ll be in there,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Anderson. “If there’s any doubt, we’ll make an adjustment.”
Chicago right-hander Dane Dunning (2-0, 2.33 ERA) has made quite the impact since entering the majors.
Dunning recorded his second straight win on Tuesday after allowing two runs (one earned) over seven innings in a 6-2 victory against Minnesota.
The White Sox have won all five of Dunning’s starts. The 25-year-old will be getting his first look at Cleveland in his career on Monday.
Chicago hopes Dunning has better control than what five of his teammates exhibited during Sunday’s 7-3 setback to Cincinnati. Those five pitchers walked 11 batters as the White Sox suffered their first series loss since Aug. 31-Sept. 2 against Minnesota.
“We’re trying to continue to move forward in a positive way,” Renteria said. “This one we want to throw in the garbage, move on, not make too much of it. Guys are still playing, hopefully fighting for this division and into the postseason. We want to keep moving in the right direction.”
–Field Level Media