|10:10 AM PT11:10 AM MT12:10 PM CT1:10 PM ET13:10 ET17:10 GMT1:10 10:10 AM MST12:10 PM EST12:40 PM VEN21:10 UAE12:10 PM CT, September 5, 2019
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio Attendance: 18,913
Indians, White Sox ready to finish out series
The Cleveland Indians were poised for a second straight late-inning meltdown before rookie center fielder Oscar Mercado changed that narrative in a big way.
The Indians look to ride the momentum of Mercado's game-saving diving catch into Thursday afternoon's finale of a four-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox.
Mercado extended his body to reel in Eloy Jimenez's line drive with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, helping preserve Cleveland's 8-6 victory on Wednesday. The catch provided the inning's second out, and Nick Wittgren struck out Ryan Goins to end the Indians' second victory in the series.
Mercado said of his grab, "I felt I had a pretty good jump on that ball. The only thing was it was on a line, and I wasn't sure if I had the time to get to it, but thankfully I did.
"It was just exciting to help my team out in that situation. For a few weeks here, I haven't been living up to my own standards of defensive play. I was working on it in batting practice and feel I'm getting back to what I know I'm capable of doing out there."
Mercado collected an RBI single among his three hits on Wednesday after entering the contest in a 5-for-42 slump.
Cleveland's Franmil Reyes flexed his muscles with a two-run shot to improve to 22-for-69 (.319) with seven homers and 19 RBIs over his past 21 games.
"When I first came here, I was just swinging at the ball," Reyes said. "Now I have a plan, and I don't want to get out of my plan."
Chicago right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (8-12, 5.41 ERA) will try to push Reyes off his plan when he takes the mound on Thursday afternoon.
Lopez was throttled for six runs on six hits in a career-worst two-thirds of an inning on Saturday in an 11-5 loss at Atlanta.
The 25-year-old pitched significantly better in his last meeting with Cleveland, on May 13. He yielded one earned run on two hits in 7 2/3 innings of a 5-2 win to improve to 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in five career starts against the Indians.
Cleveland rookie right-hander Zach Plesac (7-5, 3.61 ERA) will provide the opposition on Thursday as he aims to rebound from his second tough outing in three starts.
Plesac allowed four earned runs in five-plus innings on Saturday in a 9-6 loss at Tampa Bay.
The 24-year-old also fell in his lone encounter against the White Sox despite surrendering only one run on four hits in seven innings of a 2-0 loss on June 2.
Plesac would be wise to keep a keen eye on both Jimenez and Tim Anderson. Jimenez is batting .319 (29-for-91) with four doubles and 13 runs in his last 23 contests while Anderson has hit safely in 18 of his past 20 games.
As for Mercado's catch, a stunned Jimenez tipped his cap to the rookie on the field and praised him off of it.
"I don't know where he (came) from, but it was a nice play for him," Jimenez said. "I need to give him credit because it was a good catch and a good moment. That's all I got."
--Field Level Media
Updated September 5, 2019