Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Jason Giambi got a hanging slider from Sox closer Addison Reed and knocked it out of the park for a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, erasing a 4-3 deficit and lifting the Indians to a 5-4 victory.
It was a familiar feeling for the Sox, who have been walked off six times in Cleveland this season. Chicago is just 2-16 against the Indians and has dropped the last 13 meetings between the two clubs.
Why? Well, there are multiple reasons, of course. But one thing I've noticed throughout the year is that the Indians own Reed. They also own Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale. I have the numbers to back it up.
This season, Reed has appeared in seven games against Cleveland. He is 0-2 with 12.15 ERA. He is just 2 for 5 in save opportunities against the Indians. Against all other clubs, Reed is 5-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 51 appearances. Against teams not named Cleveland, he has converted 37 of 42 save chances. Nearly one-third of the earned runs Reed has allowed this season (9 of 30) have been against the Indians.
The story is much the same for Sale. He's made four starts against Cleveland and lost 'em all. He's 0-4 with a 8.61 ERA. Nearly one-third of the earned runs Sale has allowed this season (22 of 69) have been against the Indians. Sale has started 25 games against clubs not named Cleveland and has gone 11-9 with a 2.16 ERA in those appearances.
The White Sox best starting pitcher can't slow the Tribe; neither can their best reliever. That plays a major role in going 2-16 against an particular opponent.
The Indians are likely to make the American League playoffs as a wild-card team, and they have the Sox to thank. Against teams that are not from Chicago, the Indians have a pedestrian 71-68 record. They become 87-70 only when you add in their mastery of the White Sox.
In case you are wondering, Cleveland is a combined 12-27 against the four other likely AL playoff teams (Detroit, Boston, Tampa Bay, Oakland). Unfortunately for the Indians, they will not be facing the White Sox in the playoffs.