CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, two teams at opposite ends of the American League Central Division spectrum, will meet Wednesday night in the second game of their three-game series.
The Indians are in first place in the division with a record of 68-49. The White Sox are in fourth place, 12 1/2 games behind Cleveland, with a record of 56-62.
Cleveland won the first game of the series Tuesday night, a 3-1 decision, in which Cleveland had outstanding pitching, timely hitting, and outstanding defense.
The White Sox had outstanding starting pitching from Jose Quintana, but that was about it. The difference between the two teams is significant. Just ask White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
"You're looking at a team that can pitch, obviously," Ventura said. "Offensively they can do a lot of different things. They are athletic. They have some switch hitters. They are really tough, and they can match up against lefties or righties."
The White Sox will recall Anthony Ranaudo from Triple-A Charlotte to start Wednesday night's game. In 16 starts at Charlotte, Ranaudo was 6-5 with a 3.35 ERA. He has made one start for the White Sox this year. That came on July 27, an 8-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. In that start Ranaudo pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on two hits, with three strikeouts and four walks. He also hit a home run in that game, but obviously won't get to hit against the Indians.
Cleveland will send Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 3.21) to the mound. It will be Carrasco's 15th career start vs. the White Sox, his 16th appearance against the Sox overall. His career record against Chicago is 3-8 with a 5.45 ERA. He has made one start against the White Sox this year. In a 3-2 Cleveland win on June 19 at Progressive Field, Carrasco pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and four walks, but did not figure in the decision.
The Indians right now are hitting on all cylinders. Wednesday's game will be the seventh in an 11-game homestand, the team's longest homestand of the year. In the first six games of the homestand, the Indians are 5-1. They've increased their lead in the division over second-place Detroit to six games. One of the keys has been their revamped bullpen.
The addition of left-hander Andrew Miller in a trade deadline deal with the Yankees has paid immediate dividends. In the Indians' 3-1 win over the White Sox on Tuesday, Miller pitched the seventh and eighth innings and retired all six batters he faced, on five groundouts and one strikeout. He threw just 16 pitches, 12 of them strikes.
In seven appearances since being acquired in that trade with the Yankees, Miller has held opposing batters to a .103 batting average (3-for-29). "It's one thing to have his stuff, which is really good," said manager Terry Francona. "But he doesn't mess around. He just keeps firing strikes."
In a combined 51 appearances with the Indians and Yankees, Miller is 6-1 with a 1.50 ERA.