WHITE SOX AT INDIANS
The facts: 12:05 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The pitchers: Andre Rienzo (2-0, 4.05 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (2-3, 4.14).
Updated: June 5, 2014 5:12PM
CLEVELAND — Adam Eaton is on the disabled list, and it didn’t take long for the White Sox to miss him.
Less than 24 hours, to be exact.
With Alejandro De Aza replacing Eaton in the leadoff spot for the first time, it was dark shades of 2013 as the Sox’ offense managed five hits and looked flat doing it in losing their fourth in a row. Not that De Aza (1-for-4), who’s better suited for the lower third of the order than the top spot, was at fault. But, for some reason, the Sox, who have done a bang-up job putting the disaster that was last season behind them in large part because of Eaton’s effectiveness as a leadoff guy and the energy he brings, played much like the team that lost 99 games last year without the banged-up Eaton on the field.
Scott Carroll (1-1) was excellent again in his second start in as many outings in the majors, but he got dinged for two unearned runs because of a dropped pop-up by third baseman Marcus Semien (his sixth error) in the second inning and a throwing error by Tyler Flowers in the fifth that eventually led to the Indians’ second run.
Adam Dunn had two hits, including a double, but was inexcusably thrown out at third on a grounder to shortstop.
Eaton, who had been favoring a sore left leg, pulled his right hamstring overcompensating. He knew it was time to take a break and get well and seemed relieved.
“To be honest with you, I’m tired of battling it for 21/2 to three weeks when I don’t have the legs I need to have,’’ Eaton said Saturday. “As much as I hate to be on the rack not helping anybody, your legs need a rest, and you need to take care of some stuff. That’s the [reality] of it.’’
Eaton’s gung-ho style doesn’t always lend itself to good long-range health, but the leg injuries were more from running hard and misfortune than recklessness. He has stopped diving head-first into first base at management’s behest, but he’s not about to stop crashing into walls to make plays in center field.
“You don’t want to reel him in,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “You do if you see something wrong. But the way he plays is the way he plays. That’s part of the attractiveness of him. You like that kind of player, and that’s what makes him good. You don’t want to take that away from a guy.’’
Eaton said he has contemplated scaling it back, but not for long.
“I’m no good on the DL, I understand that,’’ he said. “It’s definitely something that runs through my head. But this [injury] has nothing to do with playing hard. It’s baseball; things happen. You can say this about any injury. Chris [Sale] shouldn’t throw 92 in the eighth inning? That’s baseball.’’
“It’s a byproduct of his style,’’ first base and outfielders coach Daryl Boston said. “Eventually, he’ll grow into when he can and can’t do those things, but right now we just have to let the guy play. He’s the energy we’ve lacked in the past. He’s already given the clubhouse a boost, and I’m not going to ask him to back off.
“He’s a dimension and presence we need at the plate and on defense. We need him on the field.’’
Justin Masterson (1-1) pitched 71/3 scoreless innings. Jose Abreu (0-for-4) had an eventful yet uneventful night, striking out twice, including a three-pitch whiff on off-speed pitches out of the strike zone from Cody Allen with runners on second and third in the eighth. The first baseman also couldn’t get a ball out of his glove after fielding Lonnie Chisenhall’s ground ball in the sixth, so he flipped his glove and ball to Carroll covering first for the out.