Even after the 2013 season came to a close, Chris Sale could not escape the Indians.
The White Sox ace finished 0-4 with an 8.61 ERA over 23 innings against Cleveland last year, including six home runs and 34 hits allowed. It was a forgettable head-to-head run in an otherwise Cy Young-caliber effort.
Sale took to the golf course during the offseason at Worthington Country Club in Bonita Springs, Fla., where he is a member, to find a little relaxation. The only problem was that Don Tracy, the head pro, is a Cleveland fan.
"It's a funny story," Sale said. "He was a fan before there were any fans.
"So going to play golf this offseason was bittersweet. I knew I was going to have a great time and play on a great course. But I also knew I was going to hear about it."
Those Sale individual struggles served as a microcosm for the disaster that was the White Sox 2-17 record against the Indians. But maybe 2014 will bring about different results for Sale, who pitches Friday night.
A 14-game White Sox losing streak against the Indians came to an end Thursday night by virtue of a 7-3 victory behind John Danks and two homers from Jose Abreu. It was Danks' first career home win against the Indians.
There's no sense of vindication for the White Sox, other than evening their record after 10 games.
"I don't think just because you want revenge or anything like that you're necessarily now going to win the game. I mean we were actually trying last year," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "So you continue to focus on what we're doing right now and the things that are good instead of thinking about things last year.
"And I think a lot of it is just the feeling is different so far offensively for us that we didn't have last year. There is definitely a different vibe in being able to score and come back if you get down that wasn't necessarily there last year."
The Indians will send Carlos Carrasco to the mound in the second game of this four-game set and hope to get continued offensive production from Asdrubal Cabrera. After a slow start, the shortstop has four hits in his last eight at-bats, which includes a homer and double Thursday against Danks.
"I think hitting leadoff can sometimes be good for him, but when he's not hitting it's a little glaring when you're in the leadoff," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona of Cabrera. "So you try to balance it.
"When you start the season, like our first nine games have been so sporadic. We played two in one day twice -- that's half our schedule that's been played in about eight hours, and we've been doing a lot of sitting around. There's a lot of inconsistencies that happen at the beginning of the season."
White Sox: Jones' pain coming from his back
The pain that sent right-handed reliever Nate Jones to the disabled is not related to a glute strain, as the White Sox first thought.
"He had an MRI the other day and it revealed, it seems the source of his issue is in his lower back, which is a little different," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "We had mostly mentioned the glute."
According to Hahn, the glute pain was probably radiating from the back issue. Jones had a left glue issue at the start of Spring Training, keeping him sidelined until March 8. He received an epidural and is feeling better, but has not started baseball activity.
"He feels much better, which is good," said Hahn of Jones, who was placed on the disabled list on April 4. "We're going to hopefully have a few more days of him continuing to feel better before we start including baseball activity in his rehab. He's quiet, but for right now, the arrow seems to be pointing up."
Indians: Francona encouraged by Bauer's start, organizational depth
The Indians may have lost the second game of their doubleheader to the Padres on Wednesday, but the start by prospect Trevor Bauer has Francona excited about the long-term potential of his starting staff.
"We didn't win that game, but organizationally that was a good day for us," Francona said. "All of a sudden you look down and you've got a 24-year-old that's throwing about 95 with a hook and a changeup. That's nice to know. And nobody's forgotten about Josh [Tomlin], so it makes your organization look a little deeper."
Bauer, who spent last season retooling his complex delivery at Triple-A Columbus, allowed one earned run in six innings of work while striking out eight and walking two against the Padres.
"We just told him it was exciting to watch him pitch and that the hope is that he can take that away, that was really impressive," Francona said. "I think it bodes well for the future. It's nice to see that, especially in a real game in a ballpark in a game that counts -- it was fun to watch that."
Bauer was sent back down to Columbus after his start. He was allowed on the roster as a 26th player because of the doubleheader.
• Friday marks a new U.S. Cellular Field promotion called K Zone For Sale, which takes place in Section 154. When Sale starts at home, fans with tickets in this section receive a free K-Zone T-shirt and K-card at the #SoxSocial Lounge. Tickets in that section are $20 for most of these Sale starts, with the exception of Family Sunday and the Crosstown Classic games with the Cubs.
"He's the man. He really is," said White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer Brooks Boyer of Sale. "He's a soft-spoken guy, a great guy, a little bit like [Paul] Konerko in that he doesn't want attention but his play dictates a lot of attention. I'm biased, but Chris is someone to come see pitch. He's worth the price of the ticket, he's that good."
• White Sox left-handed starting pitchers have made quality starts in all six of their starts this season.
• The White Sox Adam Eaton has a stretch of three straight multihit games. He is 6-for-12 over that span.
• Ryan Raburn is hitting .367 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 16 games against the White Sox since 2013.
• Cabrera has homered in four of the last seven games against the White Sox.