- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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The White Sox are 8-8 against American League Central teams this season, a year after going 26-50 against the clubs they face off against the most.
The major embarrassment in 2013 came against the Cleveland Indians, who the White Sox will face over the next three games beginning Friday night at Progressive Field. The White Sox won just two of 19 games against the Indians last year, with Cleveland using that advantage to springboard themselves into the playoffs.
Powered by a new offense, the White Sox have already made headway on their issues with the Indians. Their three victories in a four-game home series during the second week of the season were early signs that this team is far more dynamic than last year's.
Pitching continues to be an issue, though. While the bullpen is much improved after a brutal start, the White Sox are scrambling with their rotation after an injury to Chris Sale, not to mention struggles from Felipe Paulino and Erik Johnson.
Scott Carroll and Andre Rienzo, who both started the season at Triple-A Charlotte, will get starts in the upcoming series. Carroll will look to build off an impressive major league debut on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays when he outdueled Cy Young winner David Price by allowing just one earned run over 7 1/3 innings.
Rienzo has given up a combined six runs in his first two starts of the season, but has picked up support in the form of 13 runs from his teammates in those two games and has an early 2-0 record.
HEAD TO HEAD
Alexei Ramirez is 6-for-7 (.857) against Indians starter Danny Salazar, with a double and a home run. … Dayan Viciedo has never had a hit against Indians starter Justin Masterson in 14 at-bats, while Ramirez is just 9-for-51 (.176) against him. … The Indians' Ryan Rayburn is 13-for-37 (.351) against John Danks with three home runs and nine RBIs. … Rienzo's first ever major league game took place last season at Cleveland when he gave up three runs on six hits over seven innings and ended up taking the loss.
After struggling in early April, the White Sox's bullpen has not allowed an earned run over its last 14 1/3 innings. ... White Sox relievers Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam have each delivered three consecutive scoreless appearances, with Petricka pitching six innings in that span and Putnam going 5 2/3 innings. ... Ramirez has at least one hit in 27 of the White Sox's first 29 games. ... Viciedo has reached base in 12 consecutive games, with five multi-hit games and two multi-RBI games in that span. … Jose Abreu has 31 hits this season, 18 of which have gone for extra bases. ... Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is dealing with an abdominal strain, but has not been placed on the disabled list.
Friday: White Sox LH John Danks (2-1, 3.48 ERA) vs. Indians RH Danny Salazar (0-3, 6.04), 6:05 p.m. CT.
Saturday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (1-0, 1.23) vs. Indians RH Justin Masterson (0-1, 4.84), 5:05 p.m. CT.
Sunday: White Sox RH Andre Rienzo (2-0, 4.05) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (2-3, 4.14), 12:05 p.m. CT.
Division play is what railroaded the Chicago White Sox last season, yet it has been much improved in 2014, even after just getting swept in a brief two-game series at home against the Detroit Tigers.