Tribe’s Push Towards Playoffs Continues Against Pale Hose
Bob Toth | On 18, Sep 2018
The final homestand of the season continues for the Indians on Tuesday night as Cleveland hosts the Chicago White Sox in a three-game midweek set.
The Indians (83-66) continued their sleep walk through September, falling to 6-9 on the year after dropping two of three to Detroit over the weekend. While the team is winning at just a 40% clip in September, they still have managed to outscore the opposition by 12 runs. The Indians have lost or tied four of their five series in the month. They have defeated the White Sox ten times in 13 tries this season (outscoring them 73-34) with two series left in September.
The White Sox (59-90) showed some signs of life in August, posting their first winning record in a full month this season after going 17-12. They came back down to earth when the calendar flipped to September, as they have gone 5-9 in the month while being outscored by 23 runs. They completed a series win over the Baltimore Orioles to wrap up a 3-3 road trip over the weekend, losing the finale by an 8-4 final with a chance to sweep. A seven-game losing skid earlier in the month has been the main culprit for their rough September record.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
The 25-year-old Rodon missed the start of the season with left shoulder inflammation, returning in early June. He will make his 18th start of the year, already well above the dozen games he pitched in an injury-shortened 2017 season. He found his stride in July and August, putting up ERAs of 1.88 and 1.80 in those months, but has struggled some in September, allowing ten earned runs in his 17 innings of work (5.29) while taking two losses in three outings. He earned a no-decision in a better effort his last time out, allowing two runs in six innings, but he walked five batters for the second straight start. He has faced the Tribe three times this season, going 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 19 1/3 innings.
Kluber will set his sights on the 19-win mark for the first time in his career on Tuesday night. He last pitched on September 10 and left after just an inning and two-thirds. In that short time on the mound, he allowed four earned runs on five hits while striking out four in a game that quickly got away from him. The team pushed him back to line him up appropriately for the playoffs, giving the 32-year-old staff ace a little extra rest in the process. He remains an outside candidate for the Cy Young Award, but would likely need to throw gems in his final outings of the season in order to slide up the rankings. He is 6-2 in the second half with a 3.23 ERA after a 12-5 first half with a 2.76 ERA. He is 2-0 against Chicago this season in two starts, working 13 scoreless innings of four-hit, one-walk baseball with 17 strikeouts.
Covey will make his fifth start of the year against the Indians in the middle game. The 27-year-old right-hander last faced them on August 12, when he was rocked for six runs on seven hits in just two and two-thirds innings. He split a win and a loss in back-to-back starts against Cleveland in the middle of June and took a no-decision against the club back on May 28. He had moved back into the White Sox’s bullpen over the final two weeks of August, but jumped back into the rotation to start on September 11 against Kansas City. In that start, he lasted four and one-third innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts in a loss. He has not earned a win in a start since July 21.
Carrasco is still looking for his first win in September after losing two of his three starts in the month. Part of that has been some bad luck, as he has thrown quality starts in each of his last two outings. He went 4-2 in August with a 1.85 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP while factoring in every decision and striking out 50 batters in 39 innings of work. The 31-year-old has dominated the White Sox over the last two years, posting a 5-0 record with just four earned runs allowed over 43 1/3 innings (0.83 ERA). This season, he has allowed just one unearned run with a walk and five hits allowed while striking out 20 in a 14-inning span.
Shields has not had a good season, but he made one of his best starts of the year against Cleveland on June 12, when he limited the Indians to just one run on four hits in seven innings of work in his only walk-less game that month (and one of his three on the season). He has faced the Tribe dating back to 2007, earning a loss each year against them until notching his first win in 2011. He had put up better numbers against them until 2016, when he fell back into losing habits against them. He is 5-8 lifetime in 22 starts against the Indians with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
Tomlin will make his second start after being reinserted into the starting rotation to help space out the starters to line them up for the playoffs. He gave up a predictable leadoff homer against Detroit in that outing on September 14 and allowed two runs in total over four innings of work in a no-decision. He owns a 5-5 career record against the White Sox with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP over the years in 16 games (13 starts). He has limited Chicago to a hit and no runs in two relief appearances this season.
TV: Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); NBCSCH (9/18, 9/20); WGN (9/19); MLB Network (out-of-market, 9/20)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (CLE); WGN 720 (CHI)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery; on rehab assignment
Trevor Bauer (SP) – 10-day disabled list (8/12) – right fibula stress fracture
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF) – 60-day disabled list (7/3) – strained left calf
Nick Goody (RP) – 60-day disabled list (5/3) – right elbow surgery
James Hoyt (RP) – 60-day disabled list (9/4) – right knee inflammation
Leonys Martin (OF) – 60-day disabled list (8/9) – non-baseball related issue
Tyler Naquin (OF) – 60-day disabled list (7/26) – right hip surgery
Danny Salazar (P) – out for season (3/26) – recovery from right shoulder exploratory surgery
Jose Abreu (1B) – day-to-day – infection in right thigh; hospitalized
Danny Farquhar (RP) – 60-day disabled list (4/21) – recovery from April 2018 brain surgery
Leury Garcia (OF) – 10-day disabled list (8/21) – grade 2 left hamstring strain
Miguel Gonzalez (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/19) – recovery from July 2018 right shoulder surgery
Michael Kopech (SP) – 60-day disabled list (9/8) – UCL tear in right elbow
WHITE SOX NEWS AND NOTES
The White Sox have struggled against Indians pitching this season, posting a team line of .188/.245/.329 on the year with 145 strikeouts in 446 plate appearances (striking out almost one-third of the time).
Abreu is expected to miss the series and is at a Cleveland hospital with an infected hair follicle on his right thigh. He was hitting .265 on the year with 36 doubles and 22 homers while driving in 78 RBI.
Avisail Garcia is hitless in eleven plate appearances against the Indians this season in three games, striking out four times. He is averaging more than a strikeout per game this season, hitting .240 with 18 homers and 44 RBI.
Yolmer Sanchez leads the White Sox with three homers off of Indians pitching this season while hitting .184. He has been a regular in the Chicago lineup again this season, putting up a .247/.315/.380 slash with 31 doubles, nine triples, eight homers, and 51 RBI.
Yoan Moncada is second on the White Sox with ten hits off of Cleveland pitching this year. He has hit .222 with three doubles, two homers, and four RBI. He has appeared in all 13 games of the season series. He has looked a little unprepared at times for the Major League game, owning a .226 average on the year with 26 doubles, six triples, 17 homers, and 58 RBI. Likely more concerning for the Sox brass are his 201 strikeouts on the year in 138 games.
Adam Engel has flashed the leather against the Tribe and has used the bat to his advantage. He has a pair of triples and a homer off of Indians pitchers with four RBI, but has hit just .167 overall with 12 strikeouts in 39 plate appearances.
Daniel Palka has hit just .111 against the Indians with 20 strikeouts in 50 plate appearances, but he does have two of the team’s home runs against Cleveland with three RBI. He is the Sox’s leader in homers with 24 on the year.
TRIBE BY THE NUMBERS
The Indians have hit .290 against White Sox pitching this season with a .364 on-base percentage and .453 slugging mark.
Jose Ramirez will look to build up his offensive stats against a club he has owned throughout the campaign. He has a .356/.423/.756 slash in a dozen games against the Sox with 16 hits and ten runs scored. He has three doubles and a team-leading five homers off of Chicago this season while driving in ten (tied with Edwin Encarnacion for the team lead). Ramirez leads the Tribe with 38 homers and 101 RBI on the season in 145 games.
Michael Brantley has feasted against the Sox, hitting .354 with two doubles, three homers, and five RBI on the year. Brantley remains above the .300 mark, hitting a team-leading .307 with 35 doubles, 16 homers, and 73 RBI.
Yonder Alonso, who has slowed in the second half again, is hitting .353 off of Chicago this year with five doubles and six RBI. He has provided the lineup with some punch, currently ranking fourth on the team in homers with 23 and RBI with 79.
Jason Kipnis always amps up for matchups with his hometown clubs. He has hit .311 against the Sox this season with two doubles, three homers, and eight RBI. His 14 hits against Chicago are fourth-most on the team this season.
Yandy Diaz was 3-for-5 in his lone appearance against the White Sox this season with a pair of RBI. He has hit .291 on the year in 27 games with three doubles, two triples, his first big league homer, and 13 RBI.
ONE AND DONE
It will be a big weekend for the Tribe beginning Friday night as baseball fans get a possible playoff preview when the AL East leading Boston Red Sox make their only regular season trip to Cleveland. The White Sox will head home for their final homestand of the year, hosting the cross town Cubs for three games over the weekend before welcoming in the Indians for three next Monday.
Photo: David Banks/Getty Images