CHICAGO – The Cleveland Indians probably are going to cruise to a first-place finish in the American League Central for the fourth straight season.
If everything goes right, it would not be a shock if the Indians played in the World Series for the second time in three years.
The White Sox are right on track for their sixth straight losing season, and they last made the playoffs in 2008.
One day, in the near future, the Sox want to be in Cleveland’s current position.
“I think we aspire to be, hopefully, a part of the best of the best,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “I tell the players that all the time. They are the best of the best, that’s why they’re here. But we have to execute on a consistent basis to be truly the best of the best.
“[The Indians] are a club that’s very talented. They go out, they prepare, they do what they need to do. They have a balance of pitching and offense. They can certainly can catch the ball, they can steal a base, there are a lot of things they can do very, very well.”
Dating to last season, Cleveland won 10 of 11 against the Sox before losing, 5-1, Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez set the early tone for the Sox with back-to-back home runs leading off the first inning. Matt Davidson added RBI doubles in the first and fifth.
After giving up seven runs in six innings in his last start, Thursday at Minnesota, Sox right-hander James Shields held the Indians to one run on four hits in seven innings.
Eye on Moncada: Moncada took another called third strike in Tuesday night’s win against Cleveland, but the pitch from Indians reliever Zach McAllister was over the plate.
Monday night, Moncada was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, and two of them were looking.
Afterward, Sox manager Rick Renteria went to bat for his young second baseman.
“He has as good an eye as anyone in the game of baseball,” Renteria said. “Sometimes he gets some pitches called on him that should not be called – flat-out, straight-up. It’s a tough job that those umpires have to do every day, but this poor kid, honestly, I think he gets the short end of the stick a lot of times.”
As he gains experience, Moncada undoubtedly will get a better feel for what to expect from home-plate umpires. In the meantime, the 23-year-old switch-hitter is probably going to have to swing the bat more.
“I think I will have to make some adjustments because I’m getting too many calls that for me are not strikes,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “They are calling those pitches strikes and I will have to make some adjustments in order to take advantage of the situation or put the ball in play.”
Moncada came out swinging Tuesday, leading off the first inning with a home run off Indians starter Adam Plutko.
“I think that everybody knows that my offense right now is not as good as it can be,” Moncada said. “But I’m working hard. I’m doing all the things that I can possibly do to improve my offense and get the results done.”
Eye on Charlotte: Out since April 23 with a strained right hamstring, right fielder Avisail Garcia played in his first rehab game with Triple-A Charlotte Tuesday night and was 1 for 2 with a walk.
Garcia, an All-Star with the Sox last season, batted second and was the Knights’ designated hitter.
Emerging pitching prospect Jordan Stephens started for Charlotte and had 7 strikeouts over 6 scoreless innings.
Earlier Tuesday, starting pitcher Spencer Adams was promoted to Charlotte from Double-A Birmingham.
The Sox’s second-round pick in the 2014 draft out of White County High School in Cleveland, Georgia., Adams was 3-6 with a 4.59 ERA in 13 starts with the Barons. Over his past three starts, the 22-year-old righty allowed one earned run in 21 innings.