Memorial Day First Place Showdown: Indians and White Sox Meet for 4 Game Series
It's Memorial Day in the United States, and it also marks the end of the first two months of the Major League Baseball season. The Cleveland Indians have had an up and down first two months, but they are still in the mix for the top spot in the American League Central Division.
Heading into Monday, the Indians sit in second place in the Central with a 28-23 record on the year. The Chicago White Sox have built up a 3.5-game lead in the division as they have roared out to a 32-20 record.
These two teams will meet up on Monday for a doubleheader to kick off a four-game series that will have an impact on the division standings. The White Sox have won four straight games while the Indians have gone just 2-3 in their last five games.
Underdogs in Opener
The Indians are set to send Triston McKenzie to the mound in Game 1 on Monday afternoon, and the White Sox will counter with Carlos Rodon. This pitching matchup favors the White Sox in a big way, but a seven-inning game could change things a bit.
McKenzie has gone just 1-3 with a 5.94 ERA so far in 2021, but he does look like he has a bright future in Cleveland. Rodon is 5-2 with a sparkling 1.29 ERA for the White Sox.
Cleveland will need Jose Ramirez, and Eddie Rosario will have to lead the Indians' offense if they plan on solving Rodon Monday.
Indians Must Score
Looking at the offensive numbers for both teams, it is hard to believe that Cleveland has been able to stay in the division race. The White Sox are one of the best offenses in baseball, and Cleveland is one of the worst.
Chicago has scored 258 runs this season and has a team batting average of .256. The Indians have scored just 200 runs in 2021, and they are hitting just .214 as a team.
The White Sox have also pitched better than the Indians this season, but Cleveland has to flip that script on Monday and in the rest of the series. Chicago has a team ERA of 3.17, while the Indians come in at 3.90.
A Real Tough Test
Playing at home will give the Indians a slight edge this week against the White Sox, but this will still be a tough test. Chicago is one of the best teams in baseball, and the Indians will have to play extremely well to pick up wins in this series.
Cleveland hopes to take advantage of these head-to-head matchups to gain some ground in the standings, but splitting the four games might be a win for the Indians. The Indians are going to have to find some offense if they plan on keeping up with the White Sox.
Getting off to a good start by winning the first game of the doubleheader could set up the Indians for success for the rest of the week.
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