Smoke signals

• Ramirez made his second straight start at second base on Sunday, and he is making a strong impression in his second stint in the Majors. Whatever Ramirez does, he does it with plenty of energy.

"When younger guys handle it appropriately, it can be very invigorating, the enthusiasm that comes from younger guys," Francona said. "Last September, everyone got kind of a kick out of [Ramirez]. I think he's kind of endeared himself to a lot of people quickly."

• Whether it's filling the gap while Bourn's hamstring heals or figuring out the new No. 5 starter, the Indians have found they have many players they can rely on throughout their farm system.

Francona said that's going to be important for the Tribe going forward. Staying competitive with the Indians' payroll hinges on being able to pull talent from within, a struggle for the organization for some time.

"I think we're starting to get stronger," Francona said. "Our Minor League system, [general manager] Chris [Antonetti] kind of said maybe last year, that's one of the goals.

"There's that group of kids that's coming, starting now to edge into Double-A and Triple-A. Because the more you develop your own, obviously, I don't care what team you are, but especially us, the better it is."

• In the series finale against the White Sox on Sunday, the Indians look to continue the longest home winning streak against the White Sox in Progressive Field's history. Cleveland has won eight straight home games against the White Sox heading into Sunday.

Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.