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Preview: White Sox at Indians

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 11 2014 12:43:52 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 11 2014 12:43:53 AM CDT

The Cleveland Indians own the best home record in the American League Central and are hoping to use that to their advantage when they open a three-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox on Friday. The Indians moved back within a game of .500 with a comeback win on Thursday and are attempting to close out the first half strong. The White Sox are coming off back-to-back crushing losses.The White Sox saw their bullpen let them down in each of the final two games of a four-game set at Boston this week, both of which were won by the Red Sox in walk-off fashion. Chicago's relief corps has issued an AL-worst 148 walks and recorded more saves than only Texas and Houston. The Indians' bullpen has been one of the strengths of the club and proved its might again on Thursday as five different relievers combined to hold the New York Yankees scoreless over 4 1/3 innings, giving the offense time to put up nine runs in its final two chances.TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, CSN Plus (Chicago), SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (3-6, 4.90 ERA) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (8-6, 2.86)Noesi is struggling to find any consistency as he followed up a five-run, seven-walk disaster on July 1 by keeping Seattle scoreless over 6 2/3 frames five days later. The Dominican snapped his four-start winless streak with that effort against the Mariners. Noesi had one of his best performances against Cleveland on May 28, when he allowed one run on five hits in a season-high 7 1/3 innings.Kluber was denied a spot on the AL All-Star team as Chicago's Chris Sale won the final vote on Thursday but certainly is worthy of a spot with his performance of late. Kluber has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last five outings and struck out 10 while yielding one run in 8 1/3 innings against Kansas City on Sunday. The 28-year-old fanned a career-high 13 while surrendering one run in eight frames against Chicago on May 4.WALK-OFFS1. Indians OF Chris Dickerson is 7-for-15 with four runs scored since joining the team on Monday.2. Chicago 2B Gordon Beckham is 1-for 30 with 10 strikeouts in his last seven games.3. Cleveland 2B Jason Kipnis has recorded multiple hits and at least one stolen base in each of his last three games.PREDICTION: Indians 8, White Sox 3

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