MLB

Indians-White Sox Preview

With the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox both struggling offensively, Cleveland might have the advantage in Monday's series opener with Trevor Bauer on the hill.

Bauer looks to defeat the White Sox for the second time in less than a week in a matchup of last place teams in Chicago.

The Indians (4-7) lost 7-2 at Minnesota on Sunday, going 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position. They're 5 for 33 in those situations over the last five games.

"We've got to fight through it," manager Terry Francona said. "And until you really get rolling, find a way to manufacture, find a way to win by one."

Chicago (4-7) seemed to show some life with three straight wins, but has since dropped three of four, scoring two runs or fewer in each loss. Leadoff man Adam Eaton is hitting .136 while everyday shortstop Alexei Ramirez is at .176.

"If we do what we are capable of, there's no reason why we are not at the top of this thing," catcher Tyler Flowers told MLB's official website after Sunday's 9-1 defeat at Detroit.

The White Sox are hitting .189 and averaging 1.7 runs while dropping five of the last six meetings with the Indians, and must try to solve a pitcher who held them in check in the second of last week's two-game split in Cleveland.

Bauer (2-0, 1.50 ERA) gave up two runs and struck out eight over six innings in a 4-2 win on Wednesday, giving him back-to-back wins for the first time in his career.

The right-hander has fanned 19 in 12 innings, though he has also issued nine walks. He entered this season averaging 8.3 strikeouts per nine, though didn't have much of a sample to draw from with only 34 previous starts.

"I'm trying to stay focused on attacking hitters and going after the strike zone," he said.

Bauer was shelled in his only appearance at U.S. Cellular Field, lasting a personal-worst two-thirds of an inning and allowing five runs on June 28, 2013, though Cleveland won 19-10.

John Danks (0-2, 6.97) was the loser opposite Bauer last week, giving up four runs in 4 2-3 innings in another sub-par performance. He also surrendered four runs in 5 2-3 innings in his season debut at Kansas City.

Manager Robin Ventura blamed the defense behind Danks for some of the damage afflicted by the Indians, though no official errors were committed.

"I thought Johnny actually pitched all right, but we didn't do any favors behind him," Ventura said. "The defensive ability is in these guys. We just have to be able to get it out."

The left-hander fell to 5-12 in 23 career starts versus Cleveland with a 5.19 ERA, including a 6.61 mark in his last six meetings. Ryan Raburn is batting .341 (15 for 44) against Danks with three homers, six doubles and six walks.

Chicago is reportedly calling up highly touted left-hander Carlos Rodon from Triple-A Charlotte. The No. 3 pick in last year's draft, Rodon is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts, though he's expected to work out of the bullpen.

Jose Abreu is 4 for 7 against Bauer, striking out three times.

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