The Cleveland Indians will go for their sixth win in the past seven games when they square off against the Chicago White Sox in the second game of a four-game set at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday night.
The Indians improved to 4-0 against the White Sox this season with an eye-popping run differential of 29-10 in those matchups.
Chicago (22-42) will look to bounce back quickly, which it has done well in recent weeks. The White Sox have responded from each of their past five losses with a victory, and they have not dropped back-to-back games since the end of May.
White Sox right-hander James Shields (1-7, 4.92 ERA) will try to regain his footing after allowing seven earned runs in his most recent outing Thursday against the Minnesota Twins. The 36-year-old has posted seven quality starts this year but is winless since the season opener March 29 against the Kansas City Royals.
In 20 career starts against the Indians, Shields is 4-7 with a 4.01 ERA. He has walked 35 and struck out 129 in 121 1/3 innings.
Cleveland is expected to counter with right-hander Adam Plutko (3-0, 3.93 ERA), who reportedly will be promoted from Triple-A Columbus and is slated to make his fourth start in the big leagues. The 26-year-old allowed a total of three earned runs in his first two starts for the Indians, but he gave up five runs in five innings against the White Sox on May 28 for a 9.00 ERA.
The Indians sent Plutko back to the minors after that outing, but he did not show any signs of discouragement. Instead, he fired a no-hitter against Triple-A Syracuse on June 2. He narrowly missed a perfect game after issuing a walk in the ninth inning.
"I think my off-speed stuff was really good up there (with the Indians) and it saved me," Plutko told milb.com after his no-hitter. "What was hurting me was my fastball command. So, when I combined the two, the result is (the no-hitter). Obviously, that's not going to be an every night thing, but I married the two together, and I was able to execute the pitches that I wanted to."
The White Sox have plenty of young, talented players of their own who are trying to establish themselves in the big leagues. One such player is second baseman Yoan Moncada, a heralded prospect who has struggled at the plate this season. He is hitting .232 (52-for-224) with eight home runs, 22 RBIs and 88 strikeouts -- almost 20 more than any player on the team.
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has mentored the 23-year-old and fellow Cuba native.
"Right now, I'm advising him to be more aggressive," Abreu said through an interpreter to the Chicago Sun-Times. "Figure out the way people are attacking him. Just be more aggressive. I passed through that in 2016, too. I was being a little passive at home plate. I finally figured it out. Sometimes you get -- I wouldn't say too comfortable, but passive. Then you need to figure it out."