White Sox left-hander John Danks hasn't been spectacular during the first half of 2014, but the 29-year-old has shown important signs of improvement in his 18 starts to date.
Last season, Danks -- who will take on Trevor Bauer in the series finale against the Indians on Sunday -- struggled with command and finished 4-14 with a 4.75 ERA in 22 starts after coming back from left shoulder surgery.
This year, the left-hander sports an improved 8-6 record and 4.15 ERA. But more importantly, Danks has been able to string together consistent performances -- which manager Robin Ventura attributes to a combination of increased arm strength and ever-growing confidence.
Entering Sunday's action, Danks has posted 13 quality starts. He's also gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his past nine outings.
"Last year, he was up in the zone -- and he's been better locating and being stronger throughout the game," Ventura said. "It's not just velocity, it's really the arm action. When you get your strength back and you get that velocity back, you also get the arm action for the changeup -- and that's really been a big thing for him, plus getting back a nice curveball to go with it to keep people off the changeup."
Meanwhile, Bauer, who joined the Indians' rotation on May 20, has achieved similar productivity in 11 starts this season, going 3-4 with a 4.23 ERA.
Bauer has been the model of stability, as far as runs against go -- never surrendering more than four earned in any outing. But since establishing himself in Cleveland's starting staff, the 23-year-old right-hander has also not surrendered fewer than two earned runs in any start.
Bauer earned his third win of the season his last time out on Tuesday against the Yankees, giving up two earned runs on four hits over a season-high seven innings. Bauer allowed three runs in the first two frames, but settled down and dealt five straight scoreless innings.
"It was the same game plan the whole time, I was just better able to execute it," Bauer said. "It takes me a little while to get comfortable in the game situation. So when I did get comfortable, my velocity picked up a little bit, my stuff was a little bit sharper and I was able to locate better."
White Sox: Eaton likely to miss remainder of first half
After getting hit in the right ankle with a Corey Kluber pitch in the series opener against the Indians on Friday night, Adam Eaton was absent from Saturday's lineup.
Eaton continues to nurse a plethora of injuries all over his body -- including his left wrist, hamstring and neck to go along with the sore ankle. As a result, the outfielder will likely miss the first-half finale on Sunday.
"The [injury] list is very long with him that I had to read," Ventura said on Saturday. "There's plenty there. He could play. But right now we're hoping [with] these couple of days, plus the All-Star break, he'll be totally fresh on Friday."
Indians: No timetable for Giambi
Designated hitter Jason Giambi went on the 15-day disabled list on June 12 because of a left knee injury. One month later, the Indians still don't have a timetable for the slugger's return, and on Saturday evening, the team transferred him to the 60-day DL.
Manager Terry Francona remains confident Giambi will contribute at the big league level this season. However, there appears to be limited opportunity for the 43-year-old former MVP -- with Nick Swisher assuming the role as the team's everyday designated hitter and Carlos Santana no longer serving as the backup catcher.
Giambi is hitting .128 with two home runs in 15 games this season. He's made two other trips to the DL because of a fractured rib and a right calf strain before missing the past month.
"We've actually talked to G, probably will again," Francona said. "It's a situation we knew when we signed G. Fortunately, he gets it. Not all players do. He always knows that the team comes first."
• Indians left fielder Corey Dickerson sat out Saturday's contest after complaining of a sore hamstring following Friday night's game. Dickerson is 8-for-17 in five games since joining the Tribe from the Pirates via trade.
• White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez exited Saturday's game with back stiffness in the fourth inning, after drawing a leadoff walk. Ramirez appeared to sustain the injury an inning earlier, when he stretched awkwardly to try to field a ground ball off the bat of Jason Kipnis.
• Indians reliever Cody Allen has converted 10 consecutive save opportunities, dating back to May 30. He struck out the side on Friday night to pick up save No. 11.