Indians keep raising the bar for White Sox

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the rebuilding White Sox, watching the Cleveland Indians run roughshod over everyone in their path — they broke the American League record with their 21st consecutive victory Wednesday — is a daunting reminder of how far they need to climb to get where they want to be.

The defending American League champions are the class of the Sox’ Central Division, which also includes the 2015 World Series champion and 2014 AL champion Royals.

“Whether it’s the Royals or Indians, clubs who’ve done what they’ve done, you want a measuring stick and those are the clubs you’re looking at to see what you need to do to put yourself in the position they’re in,’’ said Sox manager Rick Renteria, whose team was swept by the Indians in four games last week. “When you see a feat like that . . . you look at those clubs as a barometer. And you’re watching the Twins, who continue to improve. KC has excellent players. You use all these clubs as barometers for where you stand and what you can possibly be.’’

After taking two of three from the Royals, the Sox (58-87) need to finish 5-12 to avoid losing 100 games for the first time since they were 56-106 in 1970. While they will miss the playoffs for the ninth season in a row — the fourth longest postseason drought in baseball — they own the third-worst record in baseball and top drafting positions next June will funnel another elite prospect into a farm system boasting eight of the top 100 according to MLB.com.

Melky Cabrera ducks away from an inside pitch by pitcher Lucas Giolito during the third inning Wednesday. (AP)

Melky, revisited

The Sox gave a warm welcome with numerous hugs during their three-game series in Kansas City to former teammate Melky Cabrera, who was traded to the Royals on July 30.

“Yeah, I miss them too,’’ Cabrera said of his ex-teammates and coaching staff.

“Everything about Chicago was good — the manager, the team, the town,’’ said Cabrera, who is playing out the third year of a $42 million contract he signed with the Sox.

While at first glance he might not look like the most logical fit for the rebuilding Sox, some around the team have not ruled out a return to the South Side, perhaps on a one-year, less-expensive deal.

“I’m young,’’ Cabrera said, smiling.  “I’m 33, my body is good.’’

Sox pitchers were none too kind to Cabrera, a .288 hitter, holding him to an 0-for-11 series.

Have a series

Light-hitting center fielder   Adam Engel (.187) had one of his best offensive series of the season, going 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in the opener Monday, 1-for-4 with a double Tuesday and driving in the first two runs of Wednesday’s game with a double against lefty Eric Skoglund.

This and that

Shortstop and leadoff man Tim Anderson threw out Whit Merrifield at home on the front end of a first-and-third steal attempt in the first inning, had two hits and stole third and scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning.

Anderson is batting .310 in his last 35 games.

— Jose Abreu drove in his 93rd run with his sacrifice fly in the ninth inning for the 108th go-ahead RBI of his career.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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