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Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox preview

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The last one before the ones that matter.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

We’ve reached the final weekend of the regular season in 2017. Following this series, the Indians will begin their march towards a championship in the ALDS against either the Yankees or the Twins or the Red Sox. As it currently stands, the Tribe holds the best record in the AL, which would grant them the right to play the AL Wild Card. However, with the Astros only 1 game behind the Indians, a disastrous weekend could drop the Tribe to the #2 seed.

Pitching matchups

Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Mike Pelfrey (RHP) vs. Trevor Bauer (RHP)

Wow has Mike Pelfrey been awful this season. He’s bounced between the rotation and the bullpen at various parts during the season, and the volatility may have had something to do with his awfulness. In 117.1 innings, Pelfrey has allowed 72 earned runs while walking 56 and striking out 77 (good for an ERA+ of 78). His most recent appearance came on September 26 against the Los Angeles Angels; in that game, he went 1.2 innings in relief and allowed 1 run on 1 hit while walking 1 and striking out no one.

If it’s true that Bauer will be the #3 starter for Cleveland in the ALDS, he will not pitch again until Sunday, October 8, which would be nine days from this game. A dangerous proposition for a pitcher who is so devout to his routine, but in Tito we trust. Bauer has had arguably his best season to date this year, and a good start on Friday could be a nice final tune-up before the playoffs. In 170.1 innings this season, Bauer has allowed 81 earned runs while walking 60 and striking out 189 (good for an ERA+ of 108). His most recent start came on September 22 against the Seattle Mariners; in that game, Bauer went 7.0 innings and allowed just 1 run on 5 hits while walking 3 and striking out 6.

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Carson Fulmer (RHP) vs. Corey Kluber (RHP)

Fulmer has pitched primarily in the minor leagues this year for Chicago, but in his limited time at the major league level, he has been fairly mediocre. In his 18.1 major league innings, Fulmer has allowed 9 earned runs while walking 11 and striking out 17 (good for an ERA+ of 99). His most recent outing on September 21 was shortened due to a blister on his index finger; in that game, Fulmer lasted just 0.1 innings and allowed zero runs on zero hits while walking 2 and striking out no one.

A good outing for Kluber this weekend should seal his second American League Cy Young award. His 2017 has been a sight to behold; in 198.2 innings, Kluber has allowed just 50 earned runs while walking 36 and striking out 262 (good for an ERA+ of 204). His last outing, against the Seattle Mariners on September 24, was vintage Corey Kluber; in that game, Kluber went 7.0 innings and allowed no earned runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 10. This start would line Corey Kluber up to pitch in Game 1 of the ALDS (October 5) on normal rest.

Sunday, 3:10 p.m. ET: Chris Volstad (RHP) vs. Josh Tomlin (RHP)

Like Fulmer, Chris Volstad has spent most of his 2017 season in AAA; unlike Fulmer, his time in the majors has not been a good one. In his limited playing time for Chicago this season (13.1 innings), Volstad has allowed 7 earned runs while walking 1 and 8 (good for an ERA+ of 51). His last start came on September 26 against the Los Angeles Angels; in that game, Volstad went 5.0 innings and allowed 6 earned runs on 6 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3.

It has been alluded to that Josh Tomlin will be the #4 starter for the Tribe in the ALDS, for better or for worse. On the season, Tomlin has been about what you’d expect from a pitcher of his caliber. In 135.2 innings, Tomlin has allowed 77 earned runs while walking 14 and striking out 103 (good for an ERA+ of 103). His most recent start came on September 26 against the Minnesota Twins; in that game, Tomlin went just 3.2 innings and allowed 4 earned runs on 8 hits while walking 0 and striking out 3. If he pitches in Game 4 of the ALDS, he will be doing it on two extra days of rest.

Chicago White Sox roster

FanGraphs

Poll

How many wins will the Indians end the 2017 season with?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    103
    (76 votes)
  • 51%
    102
    (86 votes)
  • 1%
    101
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    100
    (3 votes)
168 votes total Vote Now