White Sox ace lefty Chris Sale will take the mound at U.S. Cellular Field for the first time this season Saturday, when Chicago plays host to the rival Indians in an afternoon contest.
Sale, who has finished in the top five in American League Cy Young Award voting in each of the past three years, was a thorn in the side of the Tribe last year. As part of a stellar overall showing, the lefty had a 2.17 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 20 innings against Cleveland. Sale beat the A's on Opening Day this year, improving to 3-0 in season openers.
The Indians will counter with right-hander Cody Anderson, who was named the fourth starter to begin this season after a standout showing as a rookie a year ago. Anderson went 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 15 starts for Cleveland last season and impressed the club again this spring. The righty was initially slated to make his season debut Friday, but postponement in Cleveland on Thursday pushed Danny Salazar back to Friday and Anderson back to Saturday.
Three things to know
• Indians manager Terry Francona wants to find ways to keep utility man Jose Ramirez in the lineup, considering how well he has swung the bat. Ramirez hit .313 (.937 OPS) in 64 Spring Training at-bats and has looked good in the season's first few games. He got the nod in left field in each of the past two games: against a righty Wednesday and a lefty Friday.
"I'd like to try to keep Jose [in the mix]," Francona said. "Jose's been swinging the bat pretty good. I'd like to give him a chance to kind of continue that."
• White Sox slugger Jose Abreu has had considerable success against Cleveland. Through 35 games against the Indians, the first baseman had a .312 (43-for-138) average with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs.
• Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis -- a Chicago native -- loves hitting in his hometown. Heading into this series, Kipnis had turned in a .321 (45-for-140) career average with 16 extra-base hits, 12 stolen bases and 25 RBIs at U.S. Cellular Field.