RECORDS: Indians 92-64 White Sox 68-87
GAMETIMES: Tuesday-Thursday 7:10
TV: WGN Tuesday, NBCSN Wednesday/Thursday
THEY’RE STILL SHITTY: Let’s Go Tribe
Indians Spotlight: Could Frankie Lindor go?
The White Sox begin the last homestand of the season, and half of it will be against a team that still has a lot on the table. So while it’s not games that matter for them, they can play a “spoiler” role, if that indeed matters to players. This seems like a bunch it might to. Sadly, their rotation is on the spoiled side already.
With Lucas Giolito being shut down for the year, the Sox will have a bullpen game or two in here, sending out Hector Santiago and Ross Detweiler and then diving behind the couch. Dylan Cease will get a chance on Thursday to make it look like an actual baseball game. Meanwhile, the Indians have their two big guns of Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber lined up for this, with Clevinger available for Sunday and Bieber ready to go for any wildcard game.
As that’s what’s on offer for Cleveland. They sit a half-game behind the Rays for the right to go to Oakland next Wednesday, and they have the extra game to play, which comes Thursday. They’ll finish in DC, which could be an issue as the Nationals are playing for the same thing in the other league. But they might have it wrapped up by then, and the Indians could get three games against an opponent twiddling its thumbs and keeping powder dry for the coin-flip.
Right now the schedule is in Cleveland’s favor, as the Rays have two home dates with the Yankees, and the Yanks still chasing the AL’s best record to not have to deal with the noise in Houston a fourth time (which got them just two years ago). But that could flip at the weekend with the Rays getting the long-dead Jays and as mentioned the Tribe heading to the capital.
It’s kind of a miracle the Indians are still here. They lost Jose Ramirez a month ago, though he’s starting to make noise like he could come up for air in the season’s last week even though it was thought a broken hand would end his season. The same malady definitely has ended Jason Kipnis‘s season, who was having something of a revival season but now is on the shelf. They’ve parsed out the responsibility, but the big hand should probably go to Franmil Reyes over the past month. After his trade to The Land he was simply lost, but over the past 30 days has lit up with a 130 wRC+. The rest of the lineup has been average or better, so it’s mostly been a death by 1000 cuts sort of thing.
Civale and Adam Plutko have saved them in the rotation with Kluber nowhere and Carrasco only just coming back in the pen. But he got whatever the rest of the pen has got the past month, as it’s been gasoline out there in September.
You certainly wouldn’t fancy seeing the Indians in a five-game series, except if they have to blow Bieber and possibly more in the coin-flip and only have Clevinger for more than one start. And considering how gettable the pen has been, they might be the same rollover belly-tickle they’ve been in the first round since their WS appearance in ’16.
Still, for the Pale Hose it’s at least better to play a game with stakes in the last week than when the Tigers show up for the two of them to perform some elaborate funeral interpretive dance. Cleveland is still a team the Sox will have to get by next year, and throwing some bombs at them in their chase this one at least sets a precedent. This used to be a rivalry. It can be again.