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Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians: Q/A with Wahoo’s on First

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Apr 20, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; (EDITORS NOTE: caption correction) Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez throws to first base during the game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

For three days the Chicago White Sox will host the Cleveland Indians in a AL Cebtral Showdown. Monday night the White Sox won game one of the three-game series by a 4-3 score, comming off a four-run ninth inning by the White Sox off closer Cody Allen.

There are two games still remaining in the series with the White Sox still having Hector Noesi on the mound on Tuesday and Jeff Samardzija for Wednesday.

But what about the Indians?

Catherine Putnam of Whaoo’s on First (the FanSided Indians site) answered five questions on the series and about the Indians. You can read her Q/A with Southside Showdown here.

Follow Catherine on Twitter @CLEmlbgirl.

1. Can Corey Kluber repeat his season from a year ago? Will he be in the running for the Cy Young award again?

It’s hard to believe that Corey Kluber could be as impressive as he was last year, but I think he will come very close. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his first three starts, giving him a 2.49 ERA, and he’s struck out 25 batters already. Despite how well he’s pitched, he has an 0-1 record thanks to some terrible relief performances and a struggling offense. If that trend continues, he’ll just be an extremely good ace who doesn’t have the win total needed to get the Cy Young award voters’ attention.

2. What player on the Indians must improve on their season thus far for them to compete with the rest of the division and dethrone the Tigers as the champs of the AL Central?

Brandon Moss must get better. The Tribe picked him up in a trade with the A’s this winter, expecting him to add some pop to their lineup, but entering Sunday’s game, he was hitting just .143 with one home run. The Indians need him to start hitting more homers and striking out fewer times — his strikeout rate is hovering near 50 percent — if they want to stay competitive. He showed some positive signs in the Twins series, so hopefully he’ll carry those over in Chicago.

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3. How will the injury to Yan Gomes affect the Indians until his return?

Luckily for the Indians, they have Roberto Perez. Perez isn’t a very big name, but his defense is great. In spring training, he only allowed two stolen bases in 11 tries, and the pitching staff all had positive things to say about his receiving and pitch framing skills. He’s not as good of a hitter as Gomes, but currently, he’s batting .300 with two home runs, so it could be much worse. The Tribe needs Gomes, who won the Silver Slugger and helped Kluber claim the Cy Young last season, but in the meantime, they have a backup catcher who would be a starter on any other team.

Apr 20, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona (17) discusses a call during the game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

4. How has Terry Francona made the Indians such a better team each year he’s been with the team?
Francona has done a lot for the morale and reputation of the team. When a star player like Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn signs with Cleveland, they often cite Tito as a major reason for their decision. He’s also revamped the attitude in the clubhouse, which was reportedly a pretty unhappy place at the end of Manny Acta‘s tenure there. Those factors all contributed to the Tribe’s Wild Card game in 2013, and will hopefully lead them back to the playoffs this season.

5. What is your series prediction?
The Indians’ pitching looks solid for this series, so I think Cleveland will take two of the three games, but Hector Noesi could be a pretty formidable opponent. The Tribe always hits well in Chicago, especially Jason Kipnis, who is a career .376/.463/.614 hitter at U.S. Cellular Field. I also predict that Kluber versus Jeff Samardzija will be a very well-pitched game.

Next: Week 2 MLB Power Rankings

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