After winning just two of 19 games against the Indians last year, the White Sox have a chance Friday to clinch the season series against Cleveland.
Following a day off Thursday, Chicago will resume its five-game road trip at Progressive Field, where the Indians have stumbled early on an 11-game homestand, losing three of four to Detroit after entering on a three-game winning streak.
The Indians have fallen five games back of the Tigers for the second Wild Card spot in the American League and six behind the Royals for first in the AL Central with 24 games left on their schedule. The White Sox venture to Cleveland after splitting a pair of games against the Twins.
Chicago will be throwing its ace, Chris Sale, in the series opener. The southpaw struck out 13 Tigers in his last start.
Sale's manager, Robin Ventura, spoke about the growth he's seen from his star this season.
"He's probably more mature in certain ways in just getting through games," Ventura said. "Just mentality-wise, I think grown up. There were games he had in the past where he has gotten angry. You maybe lose your composure more than you should.
"I think this year he has really ... like the other day, he gives up three [runs] in the first and still able to kind of control it and wrap your head around it and finish up and get us to a point where we can win the game. That's stuff that he has been different with this year."
The Indians will also be starting a left-hander in T.J. House. He had a win taken from him in a nationally televised start Sunday when Cody Allen blew a save. That game was eventually suspended because of rain in the 10th inning with the Tribe ahead of the Royals, 4-2.
Despite not getting the win, it was best start of the season for the rookie, who's been in and out of the Tribe's rotation. House went seven innings against the Royals, allowing just one run on five hits, and he struck out seven while not issuing a walk.
"I thought that was his best game," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I thought his stuff was sharp."
White Sox: Eaton's focus on swiping bags
Adam Eaton isn't satisfied with his 14 stolen bases on the year.
If Eaton is to be believed, White Sox fans can expect more out of him as his career progresses.
"Running definitely is something that I've focused on," said Eaton, who has been caught eight times. "I definitely don't think I'm a 10-to-15 steal guy a year. I think I'm a 20-plus yearly. So, this last month I'm hopefully going to try to put some pressure on some people and hopefully get those steals up to where I think I should be.
"As much as everyone thinks that I've been in the league five years, I'm still trying to get comfortable. This is the first time I've seen this league, the first time I've seen the pitchers. I think I'm only going to continue to progress and learn and try to get better at certain things."
Indians: Aviles working through concussion symptoms
Indians utility man Mike Aviles has shown the symptoms of a concussion over the last few days after hitting his head on the ground during a dive on Monday.
Francona said Aviles is "still a little foggy" and has been allowed to go home after coming in and getting evaluated. Aviles initially injured his head on the first play of Monday's 12-1 loss to Detroit, when he came up short trying to glove an Ian Kinsler fly ball in right field. Aviles was removed from the game after the third inning.
With the rosters expanded to 40 players, the Indians aren't pressed to put Aviles on the seven-day concussion disabled list. However, Francona said there is no exact timetable for his return.
"He's going to have to go through that progression," Francona said. "He's been coming into the ballpark, getting checked and then we've actually been sending him home. Depending on how he feels today, that'll [determine] how long he stays."
• White Sox rookie Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 13 games with two hits on Wednesday. Abreu is hitting .322 with 33 homers and 99 RBIs, ranking among the top four in the Majors in all three categories.
• Sale leads the AL with a 2.11 ERA, ahead of Seattle's Felix Hernandez (2.18). Hernandez leads Sale in WHIP, 0.94 to 0.90.
• This will be House's third start against the White Sox. He's allowed four runs in 11 innings over the first two with 12 strikeouts and two no-decisions.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.