Sabathia to Finish Series

With poor weather conditions looming, the Cleveland Indians will send C.C. Sabathia to the mound against Jose Contreras of the Chicago White Sox on Sunday in the finale of their weekend series and a rematch of opening day starters.

Weather concerns led to the Indians (5-3) moving Saturday's start up six hours, and conditions for Sunday's 1:05 p.m. EDT start are poor.

Oddsmakers have made Cleveland -1.5 point spread favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (View MLB Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 66% of bets for this game have been placed on Cleveland -1.5 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The forecast calls for temperatures in the 30s with a mix of rain and snow.

Wintry conditions led to the postponement of Cleveland's entire series with Seattle last weekend, and the team played its first series as a home team at Milwaukee's Miller Park earlier in the week, taking two of three from the Los Angeles Angels.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told the team's Web site that if weather interrupts Sunday's game, he'd prefer officials call it sooner rather than later.

"I hope they do that," he said. "If it's something that's going to be real bad, either say we play that day or make the thing up. We don't want to sit around here, but we can't say (anything). We have to do what they say."

If conditions cooperate, the White Sox will hand the ball to Contreras (1-1, 10.29 ERA), who allowed one run and four hits in six innings of a 4-1 win over Oakland on Monday. It was a big improvement over his opening day start when he lasted just one inning after allowing eight runs and seven hits in a 12-5 loss to the Indians.

Contreras, 2-1 with a 4.27 ERA in eight starts against the Indians, opposed Sabathia (2-0, 2.77) that day. The left-hander allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings against the White Sox to win his fifth straight decision against them.

Overall, Sabathia is 13-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 21 starts against Chicago - the most wins he has against any team. Sabathia surrendered three runs and 10 hits in seven innings in a 7-6 win on Tuesday against the Angels.

Unlike Cleveland's series with Seattle and Los Angeles, the Indians and White Sox play two more series at Jacobs Field, which would allow for a doubleheader to make up the missed game, if necessary. Both teams also have Monday off.

Cleveland and Chicago have split the first two games of this series, with the White Sox winning 6-4 on Friday and Cleveland posting a 4-0 victory Saturday. Paul Byrd, pitched six innings against the White Sox on Saturday, allowing just five hits while striking out five.

Byrd had come within one strike of an abbreviated no-hitter on April 6, Cleveland's scheduled home opener against the Mariners. Because of snow and cold temperatures, the game was called with two outs in the top of the fifth with the Indians leading the Mariners 4-0.

"I'm excited to pitch in one that counted," Byrd said. "I found myself in the middle of this game talking about that one."

Ryan Garko and Josh Barfield each homered while Chicago left 11 runners on base and was just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position as the team failed to provide rookie starter John Danks any run support for his second start.

Danks went 5 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits. Chicago has had three games in which its starter has lasted longer than six innings.

Victor Martinez is expected to return Sunday as a designated hitter, according to the Indians' Web site. He strained him hamstring during the team's first postponed game versus the Mariners on April 6. He was batting .500 (6-for-12) with five RBIs when he was injured.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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