Two Hall of Fame managers. Two potential division champions. A Saturday contest that may assist decide the way in which the American League Central goes to form up.

The Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox are each trying up on the Kansas City Royals within the AL Central standings, but it surely looks like a reasonably good wager that each groups might be within the combine when late summer season rolls round.

These division rivals will meet for the third time this season for a three-game set this weekend at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. Saturday’s contest simply occurs to be the Game of the Week on FS1 (4 p.m.), wherein the Indians will ship Triston McKenzie to the mound, and Chicago will hand the ball to veteran Lance Lynn.

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In that spirit, listed here are six issues you must know concerning the Indians and White Sox heading into Saturday.

1. Big sticks on the South Side

Entering Friday, Chicago’s lineup had a group OPS of .758 – tied with that of the Red Sox for greatest within the American League and solely a hair behind that of Cincinnati (.760) for tops within the majors. However …

2. Pale ail

The White Sox’s hitting prowess hasn’t been a “whole game” factor. Chicago entered Friday with a meager .587 slugging proportion within the seventh inning or later. That’s third-worst within the American League, forward of solely that of the Blue Jays and Tigers.

3. You’re a fran of mine

Through 22 video games, Franmil Reyes has been an offensive machine for Cleveland. Entering Friday, he’s producing at a .293 clip, with a .968 OPS, seven homers and 17 RBIs.

In late-game spots, Reyes has achieved notably effectively, with a .308 common and an .846 OPS in the seventh inning or later.

4. Lock it down

Cleveland’s energy in the course of the Francona years has been his potential to salt video games away within the later innings, utilizing the bullpen to throw completely different seems at groups. So far, 2021 has been no exception.

The Indians are holding groups to a 2.43 ERA from the seventh inning onward coming into Friday, third-best within the American League behind the Yankees and Blue Jays. Their .177 batting common allowed can also be third-best in baseball behind the Pirates and Orioles

5. Driving a Mercedes

The White Sox lineup has some unusual dynamics this season – Jose Abreu hasn’t actually hit for common; the catcher’s spot hasn’t produced a lot both – however Yermin Mercedes has been a revelation.

In 21 video games, he’s hitting .423 with 5 homers, 16 RBIs and a 1.144 OPS. He is a big motive the White Sox are hanging in there.

6. Hall of a matchup

At 76 years previous and with a plaque already in Cooperstown after three World Series wins, Tony LaRussa is making an attempt to change into among the best comeback tales in baseball historical past in his first season with the White Sox, a group he managed to the playoffs again in 1983.

The man within the opposing dugout – Cleveland’s Terry Francona – will probably be a part of him alongside the banks of Lake Otsego someday, with two World Series rings with the Red Sox and one other look with Cleveland.

In the historical past of the sport, there is not going to be many managerial matchups higher than this one.

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