The White Sox didn't waste much time erasing the bad memories of a 2-17 record against the Indians in 2013, taking three of four from them April 10-13 in Chicago.
The Indians will get a chance to even the score a bit in front of the home faithful when they welcome the Sox to Progressive Field for a three-game set starting Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET. You can bet they're eager to return to Cleveland, where they are 7-6.
After Wednesday's 7-1 loss to the Angels, the Indians have dropped six games in a row, all on the road.
"My feelings about our team don't change on a road trip. It was a really tough trip," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "There's no way around it. We're going to have to be strong enough now to go home and be able to look at our record for a little while and not be happy with it, knowing that the best way to remedy it is to play better."
The Sox will start lefty John Danks, who beat the Indians on April 10 with six innings of three-run ball but struggled in his last start against the Rays, in which he surrendered four earned runs on seven hits.. He'll look to avoid the slow starts that have plagued him and prevented him from going deep in games. Danks' ERA in innings 1-3 is 4.80, compared to 2.25 the rest of the way.
"He's always going to be a high-pitch-count guy," Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Danks, who needed 123 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings against the Rays. That's just part of it -- we're getting him to six innings. But high counts and strikeouts and swing and miss, throwing balls in the dirt -- you're going to have a lot of pitches."
The Tribe will counter Danks with right-hander Danny Salazar, who is still looking for his first win of 2014, though he was more than deserving of a win in his last start. Salazar held the Giants to one run over seven innings with eight strikeouts and just one walk on Sunday, taking a no-decision in the Tribe's 4-1 loss while lowering his ERA to 6.04.
White Sox: Bullpen coming together
Initially the biggest area for concern, the White Sox bullpen has started to turn things around. Chicago relievers have not allowed an earned run in 14 1/3 innings over the past five games.
Veteran righty Ronald Belisario has led the way with five consecutive scoreless outings covering eight innings. He's helped stabilize a bullpen full of young arms -- in particular Zach Putnam, Jake Petrick and Daniel Webb -- who are also starting to find their way.
"Bullpens are always a tough thing, since they're pass or fail every time they come in," Ventura said. "It's not like a hitter that can go 0-for-8 and get a couple hits in the next game. Anytime they don't do well it's immediate, and sometimes the results make you lose a game. For Petricka -- and you're seeing Webb and Putnam the last week or so -- really come in, kind of calm things down and throw well."
Indians: Club not rushing to put Kipnis on DL
Jason Kipnis was feeling better on Wednesday morning, but the Indians plan on waiting a little longer before determining whether a trip to the disabled list will be necessary for the sidelined All-Star second baseman.
During Tuesday's 6-4 loss to the Angels, Kipnis exited in the fourth inning after sustaining a right abdominal strain on a swing that resulted in a double play groundout. The second baseman has been receiving treatment for the injury, but he has not yet undergone an MRI exam.
With an off-day on Thursday, Cleveland could wait until Friday to determine whether Kipnis should be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
"We could wait longer than that," Francona said. "There's no rush to put a guy on the DL. We can handle it. We'll just kind of see how he responds."
Francona said the good news was that Kipnis felt improvement when he woke up on Wednesday morning.
• With a fourth-inning single to right off Max Scherzer on Wednesday afternoon, Alexei Ramirez set a White Sox record for hits in March/April. It was hit 40th hit of the season, which moved him past Paul Konerko, who held the old record with 39 hits in 2002.
• Ventura won his first challenge in Wednesday's loss after losing his first four of the season.
• Dayan Viciedo has reached base in 12 consecutive games. He has five multihit games and two multi-RBI games in that span.
• Of Jose Abreu's 31 hits, 18 (58 percent) have been for extra bases.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.