Indians targeting playoff berth against White Sox

MLB

The Cleveland Indians look to punch their ticket to the postseason for the fourth time in five seasons on Tuesday when they continue their four-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox.

Cleveland (30-24) posted a 7-4 victory over Chicago in the series opener to trim its magic number to one. The Indians, however, did not receive a late-night assist from Seattle, which posted a 6-1 win over Houston.

Cleveland has won five of the seven meetings with American League Central-leading Chicago (34-20) this season, but don’t tell interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. that his team has the White Sox number.

“You’re never out of the woods with the Chicago White Sox,” Alomar said. “They’re very dangerous, and anybody in that lineup can take you deep, and it’s almost like navigating through a hailstorm because they’re very powerful.”

Jose Ramirez has consistently shown his power while muscling his way into the AL MVP conversation. Ramirez belted a three-run shot in the first inning on Monday and is batting a robust .542 (13-for-24) with five homers and 13 RBIs during his six-game hitting streak.

“He has fun. He’s honestly like a little kid at the field,” Indians outfielder Josh Naylor said of Ramirez. “He enjoys the game. He enjoys his teammates. … He’s got all my support. I keep cheering him on because I want to see more of it.”

The White Sox have had fun this season, but three losses in the last four games have slowed the club’s run to its first division title since 2008. Chicago’s magic number to clinch the AL Central sits at four. The White Sox have a 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place Minnesota Twins.

Eloy Jimenez overcame an injury scare and belted a two-run homer to highlight his three-hit performance in the series opener.

“He said he felt like he pinched his knee a little bit,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said of Jimenez, who hobbled a bit after an infield single in the fourth inning. “He said he was absolutely fine. I said, ‘You know, we don’t need any heroes.’ He said, ‘I’m 100 percent fine, I promise.'”

Jimenez was 0-for-14 with three strikeouts against Cleveland prior to Monday’s contest.

White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (1-2, 5.40 ERA) looks to keep the ball in the park when he takes the mound on Tuesday. Lopez allowed three solo homers in 5 1/3 innings en route to a no-decision versus Minnesota on Thursday.

Lopez, 26, sports a 2-3 record with a 4.29 ERA in six career starts against Cleveland. He has gotten the better of Ramirez (3-for-13) and Francisco Lindor (2-for-13), although both have taken him deep on one occasion.

Cleveland shuffled its rotation after winning the series opener. The club will send right-hander Cal Quantrill (2-0, 2.52) to the mound to start a bullpen game in place of ace Shane Bieber, who is pushed to Wednesday to be in better position for the postseason.

Quantrill has made just one start in 16 appearances this season split between the Indians and San Diego Padres. The 25-year-old has yet to face the White Sox in his career.

–Field Level Media

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