Indians Bats Falter in Kluber’s Final Regular Season Start; White Sox 2, Indians 1


The Cleveland bats went cold on Saturday night, just hours after the club received word that the Boston Red Sox had defeated the Houston Astros at Fenway Park, clinching home field advantage in the American League Championship Series for the Indians. The White Sox limited the Tribe to just three hits afterwards to earn a 2-1 victory.

The loss for the Indians (101-60) eliminated them from contention for the top record in Major League Baseball and a chance to claim home field in the World Series. As it stands, if the Tribe can reach the Fall Classic for a second consecutive season and for the seventh time in franchise history, the city would be host to any National League opponent with the exception of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Corey Kluber was on the mound for the Indians to make his last ditch effort for the American League’s Cy Young award. He did not hurt his season numbers any as a result of his outing, pitching a quiet five innings before turning the game over to the bullpen in a tie game.

The Tribe’s ace and Thursday’s Game 1 starter dodged a late threat in the first from the White Sox. Jose Abreu doubled to center with two outs and moved to third on a passed ball by Yan Gomes, but was left stranded as Avisail Garcia flied to center. He got a double play ball in the second inning after a one-out single from Matt Davidson, and he pitched a perfect third inning, recording his first strikeout of the game by striking out Adam Engel for the second out.

The Indians took their first look at White Sox’s second-year pitcher Carson Fulmer and struggled to get anything going against the right-hander. He allowed a one-out single to Jason Kipnis in the first and retired the side in order in the second. Gomes started the third with a single to right, but was erased on a double play grounder by Giovanny Urshela. Francisco Lindor would walk with two outs, but Kipnis grounded to short to end the inning.

The White Sox got on the board in the fourth to end a significant consecutive innings pitched streak without allowing an earned run by Kluber. Abreu reached on a single to short, moved to second on a groundout to short by Garcia, and came in to score on a bloop single to right-center by catcher Kevan Smith to put Chicago up, 1-0. Kluber gave up another single to Davidson to put two on for Tyler Saladino, but he struck out swinging for the third out.

Brantley - Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Brantley – Ron Schwane/Getty Images

The Indians wasted a two-out walk by Jay Bruce in the fourth, but knotted the game up in the bottom of the next inning. Gomes reached base with one out after being hit by a Fulmer pitch. Michael Brantley, who was activated prior to the game from the 10-day disabled list, pinch-hit for Urshela and received a loud standing ovation from the home fans. He rewarded them with a ten-pitch battle with Fulmer before singling to right. With runners on the corners, Lindor grounded into a force at second, but Gomes scored on the play to tie the game at one. After Fulmer balked Lindor into scoring position, Kipnis left him stranded with a fly out to center to leave the game tied at one.

Mike Clevinger took over for Kluber, who was done after five. After striking out Abreu to start the sixth inning, Garcia drew a walk and would score on a double to deep right by Smith, who plated his second run of the night while giving the White Sox a 2-1 lead.

Five separate Chicago relievers would hold Cleveland hitless over the last four innings, allowing walks to pinch-hitter Abraham Almonte in the bottom of the seventh with one out and Jose Ramirez in the home half of the eighth with two down. In both circumstances, the remaining outs in the inning were retired on strikeouts as the Indians could not get the run that they needed to tie the game.

Juan Minaya pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save of the season.

Kluber took the no-decision, working five innings while allowing a run on six hits with no walks and three strikeouts. It was an odd night for the right-hander, who did not strike out a batter until the ninth man that he faced. He added a strikeout to end the fourth and start the Chicago fifth.

A front-runner in the AL Cy Young race, Kluber finished his regular season with an 18-4 record in 29 starts. He currently sits atop the MLB leaderboard with a 2.25 ERA for the year, better than the 2.31 mark of Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw, who sports an identical 18-4 record in 27 starts. His WHIP is also tops among qualified starters in MLB this season, as his 0.87 mark is just slightly better than the 0.90 mark of Washington’s Max Scherzer. Kluber also moved over the 200 innings pitched mark with his five innings Saturday, giving him 203 2/3 on the year, and he finished with 265 strikeouts, three behind Scherzer for second and well in back of the MLB leader and chief competition for the AL Cy, Chris Sale, who has 308 on the year.

Fulmer (3-1) got the win as he was still the pitcher of record when the Sox took the lead in the top of the sixth against Clevinger (12-6). He gave up one run on three hits, walked a pair, and struck out two. Four White Sox relievers earned holds before Minaya earned the save with a scoreless ninth.

The Indians offense struggled with the bats, drawing more walks (four) than hits (three) on the night.

The game drew an announced crowd of 33,173, the 13th sellout of the season by the Indians. The Tribe surpassed the two million mark in attendance this season with the night’s attendance, doing so for the first time since 2008.

The regular season finale will take place Sunday afternoon in an unconventional 3:10 PM ET start as Major League Baseball concludes all of its games in similar starts on the last day of the regular season. Right-hander Josh Tomlin (9-9, 5.11 ERA) will make his final start, aiming for win number ten on the season. He has won five straight decisions, but has taken no-decisions in his last three attempts to reach double digits, which would pair him with four other Tribe starters (Kluber, Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer) in accomplishing the feat this season. The White Sox will turn to righty Chris Volstad (1-1, 4.73), who will make his first career appearance against the Indians and just his second start of the season. He made his first big league start since 2012 in his last outing, a loss to the Los Angeles Angels while allowing six runs on six hits in five innings of work.

Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images



Cleveland Indians: The ideal matchup in the ALDS


For the Cleveland Indians, the postseason is right around the corner and with Boston’s magic number sitting at just one, the Yankees and Twins look to be the Wild Card Game participants this season. With the Boston Red Sox one win away from the division crown, it will likely come down to Minnesota and New […]

Cleveland Indians: The ideal matchup in the ALDSBelieveland BallBelieveland Ball – A Cleveland Indians Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Source: Wahoos on First


Cleveland Indians: Playoff seeding undecided with two games remaining


The Cleveland Indians are still fighting for both the top overall seed in the American League and all of baseball with two games remaining. The Cleveland Indians have 101 wins in 2017, but getting to 102 or even 103 would lead to some nice perks in the postseason. The Indians enter play today needing to […]

Cleveland Indians: Playoff seeding undecided with two games remainingBelieveland BallBelieveland Ball – A Cleveland Indians Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Source: Wahoos on First


A Return by Brantley Could Shake Up Tribe’s Postseason Roster


One of the biggest questions looming for the Cleveland Indians as the regular season concludes is the status of outfielder Michael Brantley.

The two-time All-Star has been shelved since landing on the disabled list on August 9 with a right ankle sprain. His return from the injury has been far slower than expected, as running on the injured ankle and dealing with the ligament issue has proven to be much more of an obstacle than initially hoped and anticipated.

While Brantley has been able to resume some “land-based” running over the course of the last week and by all reports is feeling good and is in much better spirits, he has been away from live action and real pitching for quite some time. How much rust the 30-year-old may have developed in that time remains to be seen.

Prior to hitting the disabled list for the second time this season, Brantley was hitting .299 with a .358 on-base percentage and a .445 slugging percentage while supplying the offense with 20 doubles, nine homers, and 52 RBI through 88 games.

The Indians outfield has been decimated by late season injuries. Bradley Zimmer appears to be done for the season after breaking his left hand after getting stepped on while diving head first into first base in a game against the Baltimore Orioles on September 10. Brandon Guyer aggravated a wrist injury that kept him on the disabled list for six weeks earlier in the season and has not suited up for the Tribe since September 14. He is still not ready to return and, according to Francona prior to Friday’s game, he is still feeling discomfort at the site of the injury.

Lonnie Chisenhall is just returning from a second calf injury, one that would have landed him on the DL had the team needed to make the move. He missed nearly two weeks with the most recent injury and has had three separate DL stints this season. After slashing .305/.375/.578 before the third injury while ranking at the top of the Indians’ run producers at the time, he has put up a .239/.314/.326 line in 16 games in September with 15 strikeouts in 51 plate appearances.

With Zimmer out of the mix and no idea what, if anything, Brantley, Chisenhall, and Guyer could give the club come October, it leaves just Jay Bruce and Austin Jackson as reliable, veteran outfielders on the roster. Behind them, Abraham Almonte, rookie Greg Allen, and second-year man Tyler Naquin have been getting some playing time as well.

The situation became so dire that, upon his own return from the disabled list, Jason Kipnis traded in his second baseman’s glove for the larger outfielder variety. In his absence, first time All-Star and legitimate MVP candidate Jose Ramirez hopped over to his natural second base position from his spot at third base and filled in there, allowing manager Terry Francona to utilize Giovanny Urshela and Yandy Diaz in tandem at the hot corner. The play from the two minor league call-ups was strong enough that Francona did not want to upset the balance that he had established on his infield, at least from a defensive standpoint, at the two positions, leaving Kipnis without a defined role moving forward.

While Kipnis had played outfield in college, the university experience was quite some time ago. He has not made a mistake that has proved notably costly to the club so far, but his route running, speed, and arm could each prove exploitable by aggressive teams in the playoffs. Situations in which a team can claim an extra base, first to third, second to home, could prove to be significant issues if the opposition decides to test his arm.

Kipnis was a key part of the Indians’ run in the playoffs last season and Francona has always been loyal to his veterans. The displaced second baseman would seem to be on the roster for the postseason as long as he proved himself healthy and able to contribute with the stick, a part of his game that seems to be progressing nicely since his most recent return. He has had three disabled list trips himself, beginning with his season-opening right shoulder inflammation. He followed that up by missing nearly a month from July 9 to August 6 with a strained right hamstring, then landed back on the shelf a third time from August 23 to September 17 with the same injury. Kipnis hit .204 with a .250 OBP in 13 August games between his DL trips; he has hit .296 with a .355 OBP in nine games this month since being activated and relocated to center.

After making such a drastic late season decision, it would seem unlikely that Francona would deviate from the move of Kipnis out of the infield. He will either be manning center field in October or will be coming off of the bench as a bat and late inning sub.

It also seems unreasonable to think that after such a layoff, Brantley would be able to grab his mitt and head out to man left field right away. If he is improved enough physically that Francona and his coaching and training staffs both feel that Brantley can provide the team with, at minimum, a punch off of the bench with the bat, the ripple effect throughout the roster could become dramatic.

Dedicating a bench role strictly for a pinch-hitter could force the Indians to carry an extra bench player for defensive or base running purposes, shorting the roster a spot in the bullpen. They could gamble to the contrary, but it could leave the team in a precarious position, especially with the way the lineup has been handled from a platoon standpoint and with knowledge of Francona’s love for bullpen depth. On the plus side, many of the players on the roster have enough flexibility that they could play out of their conventional spots on the diamond in a pinch, but that is certainly a dangerous roll of the dice in the postseason. One mistake can prove costly when playing against the top teams in baseball.

While the roster has not yet been announced or even hinted much at, it would be easily assumed that catchers Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez, first basemen/designated hitters Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion, Francisco Lindor, Ramirez, Bruce, and Jackson are locks for the American League Division Series. This leaves one outfielder and a third baseman unnamed, in addition to a couple of bench pieces outside of backup backstop.

The starting rotation will be four deep and consist of Corey KluberTrevor BauerCarlos Carrasco, and Josh Tomlin, barring a last minute change. The bullpen, also hardly set, should have at minimum Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, and Joe Smith. Mike Clevinger appears to be set as a “weapon” for utilization however Francona sees fit, leaving anywhere from two to four spots available for the likes of Dan Otero, Zach McAllister, Tyler Olson, Danny Salazar, and Nick Goody, while assuming an 11- to 13-man pitching staff.

One or both of Urshela and Diaz could be on the roster to handle third base, with Diaz a possible starter and Urshela a late inning replacement and, in essence, the team’s utility man (over Erik Gonzalez). Urshela has logged a pair of innings at first base, including one on Friday, for the first time in his big league career and has now appeared at all four non-catching infield positions this season. His bat, however, leaves something to be desired, as he has hit .226 this season with a .264 OBP and he owns a .225/.273/.315 career slash at the Major League level. Diaz, by comparison, has hit .263 in his rookie campaign with plenty of exit velo on his balls in play.

Kipnis and Chisenhall, if they both pass the remaining on-the-field tests, would provide the remainder of the outfield depth, accounting for 12 position players already.

If Brantley cannot play defensively but is on the roster, it almost assures that Kipnis will be manning the green grass in center with Jackson or Chisenhall in left. But it also means that the team would likely be carrying multiple perceived defensive liabilities instead of going with the versatility provided by the switch-hitting Almonte, who can play all three spots, or the rookie Allen, who could provide an upgrade defensively and a legitimate speed boost off of the bench, as its reserves.

Do the Indians keep Brantley’s bat on the roster, especially if he cannot contribute anything else in the ALDS? Or do they make the decision between a speedier or defensive-minded upgrade or an extra bullpen arm?

It is a tough and lengthy conversation to be continued from the Tribe’s clubhouse by the team’s brain trust with less than a week before the Game 1 opener from Progressive Field on Thursday.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images



Indians Pummel Pelfrey in Rout of Pale Hose; Indians 10, White Sox 1


Colder weather could not cool off the Cleveland bats on Friday night as the Indians opened the final series of the regular season with a 10-1 rout of the Chicago White Sox from Progressive Field.

Trevor Bauer took the mound for the Indians in his final start of the season as he prepared for the playoffs. Chasing down a personal statistical accomplishment, he would fall just short of that goal, but he added another win to his career-best totals while ending the Tribe’s Friday losing skid at two.

Veteran right-hander Mike Pelfrey got the starting nod for the White Sox and was in trouble out of the gate. After getting a pair of groundouts to start the game, Pelfrey gave up a double to center to Jose Ramirez. Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce each drew walks to load the bases, but Carlos Santana lined to left to leave them loaded.

While the Indians threatened in the first, they would come through in the second. Jason Kipnis walked to start the inning and one batter later, Roberto Perez did the same. Lindor lined out to left for the second out, but Jackson put the Tribe on the board with a single to center to score Kipnis from second with the game’s first run. Ramirez drove a pitch the opposite way over left fielder Nick Delmonico for a two-run double. Encarnacion followed with a sharp grounder to short that Tim Anderson misplayed, failing to get the glove down. The error allowed Ramirez to score from second to make it a 4-0 game. Bruce came to the plate and got into a battle with Pelfrey, but after the count went full, Bruce won the competition with a two-run blast to deep center to make it a 6-0 Tribe lead.

Bruce - Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Bruce – Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Bauer was dealing for Cleveland. He struck out a pair in the first, got the side in order in the second, and added two more strikeouts in the third. His offense stepped back in and erased what little doubt may have remained in the already lopsided contest in their at bats in the home half of the third.

Kipnis led off his second consecutive inning and doubled to right. Yandy Diaz drove him in with a double to right-center to make it a 7-0 game. Perez and Lindor were each retired before Jackson and Ramirez worked walks to load the bases, sending Pelfrey to the showers. Left-hander David Holmberg came on in relief, but Encarnacion doubled to the right-center gap to clear the bases. Bruce was retired on a fly to center, but the Indians had a commanding 10-0 lead.

After setting down the first nine in order, the White Sox finally reached against Bauer in the top of the fourth. Yolmer Sanchez got ahead in the count 3-1 before driving a fastball over the wall in right for a solo homer. It would be the first of three hits off of Bauer in the inning, but he would work out of the jam and strand runners on the corners to keep it a 10-1 game.

Holmberg provided some stability for the Sox on the mound, retiring the side in order in the fourth. Jackson and Ramirez each reached with two down in the fifth (via walk and single), but Encarnacion flied out to center.

Bauer tacked on two more strikeouts to his tally in the sixth after Yoan Moncada singled to right with one out. He left the runner standing there as he struck out both Jose Abreu and Delmonico in what would be his final inning of work.

Manager Terry Francona handled the rest of the game as an opportunity to get some guys some playing time and to get other guys a little bit of rest as he gradually emptied his bench. The bullpen received similar treatment, beginning in the seventh. Joe Smith worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up a hit and striking out a pair. Cody Allen pitched an inning and a third, striking out three in the seventh and eighth innings. Bryan Shaw opened the ninth, retiring the only man that he faced, and Andrew Miller completed the final two outs, getting a fly out to center and a strikeout.

The Indians (101-59) reduced their magic number to clinch home field advantage throughout the AL side of the playoffs to one game with the win as Houston was victorious in Boston against the Red Sox. The 2017 version of the Tribe moved into second place for wins in a season in franchise history, moving out of a tie with the 1995 Indians, who went 100-44 in their strike-shortened World Series season. This year’s squad will not be able to track down the 111-win 1954 club, but could join both other 100-win teams in team history as participants in the Fall Classic.

The 101 wins by the Indians this season are the most in the American League since the New York Yankees won 103 in 2009. The Yankees won their most recent World Series that year.

The White Sox (66-94) fell to 27-52 on the road this season.

Bauer (17-9), who entered the night eleven strikeouts short of 200 for the season, struck out seven to finish the regular season with 196 Ks. He allowed just one run on four hits and did not walk a batter, needing just 80 pitches to retire 18.

“He’s really held his stuff the entire year and the second half when our pitching seemed to fall in line, he was right in the middle of that,” said Francona about Bauer after the game. “[He] could have easily pitched another couple innings, but we just needed to get guys in. He’s in good position to move forward. He’s throwing the ball really well.”

Jackson - Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Jackson – Ron Schwane/Getty Images

When Bauer surpassed the 190 strikeout mark, it gave the Indians three pitchers with 17 or more wins and 190+ strikeouts, becoming the first team in Major League history to have three starters with those stats.

Pelfrey (3-12) was charged with seven earned runs and ten runs total. He allowed six hits, walked six, and struck out two in just two and two-thirds innings of work. Holmberg spared the bullpen by working a scoreless two and two-thirds while giving up just two hits and two walks in the process.

The Indians had contributions all over the lineup. Ramirez and Jackson each reached base safely four times. Ramirez had three hits, drew a walk, scored two runs, and drove in a pair. Jackson had two hits and two walks, scored two runs, and knocked one in. Encarnacion drove in three on his only hit of the night and Bruce reached base three times with two walks and his two-run home run, his 36th of the year to give him 99 RBI. One more RBI in the next two games would give Bruce his second career 100-RBI season.

The Indians will look to clinch home field advantage for the ALCS on Saturday with their ace, Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.27 ERA), on the mound in his final start and his own preparation for his Game 1 start next Thursday in the American League Division Series. Second-year right-hander Carson Fulmer (2-1, 4.42) will counter for Chicago, which will look to stand in the way of the Indians’ postseason plans. The 23-year-old will make his first career appearance against the Tribe and his seventh of the season.

Game time from downtown Cleveland is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images



Cleveland Indians: A postseason roster roundtable discussion


The Cleveland Indians have a lot of tough decisions in the coming days, so the writers of Believeland Ball decided to debate who is in and who is out when it comes to this year’s postseason roster. Before we get started, it’s important to note that the majority of the Cleveland Indians playoff roster is […]

Cleveland Indians: A postseason roster roundtable discussionBelieveland BallBelieveland Ball – A Cleveland Indians Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Source: Wahoos on First


Cleveland Indians: How the AL Central was won in 2017


The Cleveland Indians had a slow start to the season, but have picked things up thanks to some great play against their AL Central foes. They say that to win your division, you have to win in your division. Once again in 2017, the Cleveland Indians did just that going 48-25 against the AL Central with […]

Cleveland Indians: How the AL Central was won in 2017Believeland BallBelieveland Ball – A Cleveland Indians Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Source: Wahoos on First


Cleveland Indians: Will Jay Bruce be on the team in 2018?


Jay Bruce has had a massive impact on the Cleveland Indians since his arrival, but will that impact continue beyond 2017? When the Cleveland Indians acquired Jay Bruce on August 9, their record was a mere 60-51. They sat atop the AL Central with a small four-game lead over the Kansas City Royals, and had […]

Cleveland Indians: Will Jay Bruce be on the team in 2018?Believeland BallBelieveland Ball – A Cleveland Indians Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Source: Wahoos on First


Indians Host White Sox in Season Finale as Tribe Looks to Claim AL’s Home Field


It’s hard to believe that earlier this week, northeast Ohio was dealing with 90 degree temperatures while leaves were beginning their descent back to earth. Now, the weather has fallen back to more fall-like levels, which seems much more fitting for the Indians’ season finale with the Chicago White Sox.

The Indians (100-59) have had to deal with losses a bit more in the last week, taking a loss last Friday in Seattle and another on Tuesday against Minnesota. It marked the first time the team had lost twice in the matter of a week since the final week of August, further recognition of the incredible run that the team has been on. The Indians offense has continued to contribute at high levels, while the pitching staff has fired on nearly every cylinder. If anything could strike as a concern, it might be the backend of the bullpen, which was on the mound and responsible for each of the team’s last two losses. Still, a 31-3 mark in their last 34 games is nothing to scoff at.

With a playoff spot already locked up, the Indians control their AL playoff destiny. With Houston playing Boston this weekend, the Astros have a much tougher road to pass the Indians to claim home field. Both teams have earned the opportunity to host their American League Division Series matchups, but any combination of Indians wins and Astros losses equaling two this weekend will grant Cleveland home field for the entire AL playoff bracket. The Tribe’s chances for the overall best record in baseball is much more difficult, as they will need the Dodgers to lose all three of their games this weekend while sweeping the White Sox at the same time.

The White Sox (66-93) guaranteed themselves that they would not be a 100-loss team with a much better September. The team is 14-13 in the month and could, if able to take at least one win from the Indians over the weekend, give themselves just their second month of the season with a .500 record or better (the other came in April, when the Sox started 13-10). They come to Cleveland for their final series of the season riding a hot streak in the win column, victorious in four of their last five and six of eight. The stretch included taking three of four games from the Los Angeles Angels, essentially knocking them out of AL Wild Card contention in the process. The White Sox are 5-11 against the Indians this season and have lost four straight and seven of eight to them.

Bauer - Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Bauer – Ron Schwane/Getty Images


Friday, 9/29, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-11, 5.52 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (16-9, 4.28)

Pelfrey is a familiar face for the Tribe after spending prior seasons in both Minnesota and Detroit. The 33-year-old 6’7” starter has worked in three games against the Indians this season (two starts, one relief appearance) and has been dealt a pair of losses with a 7.36 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP in eleven innings of work while giving up four home runs. He had been working largely in relief for the White Sox of late. His last start came against the Indians on September 7 (when he allowed seven runs on eight hits in four innings) and his previous start came more than a month earlier.

Bauer has pitched each of the last two Fridays and will do so again this series while looking to end the Indians’ Friday losing skid at two. It will be his postseason tune-up and his 32nd appearance overall this year. He has the chance to reach one of the big regular season pitching milestones if he can strike out eleven White Sox batters in his start, as it will give him 200 on the season. He has made just one start against the White Sox this season, earning a win with a quality start. He allowed two runs on three hits in the outing in six and one-third innings, giving up one walk while striking out nine.

Saturday, 9/30, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Carson Fulmer (2-1, 4.42) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.27)

Fulmer will make his seventh appearance and fifth start of the year on Saturday with the tough task of opposing one of the game’s finest pitchers. He has faced the Indians once this season in one of his two relief appearances in 2017 (he worked eight times in relief for the White Sox last summer). He worked two and two-thirds scoreless innings in that outing, allowing just one hit with a walk and a strikeout. As a starter, he has not had the same kind of success so far in his career as he has had in relief, as he is just 1-1 in four starts with a 5.27 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. He left his last start early on September 21 with a blister on his right index finger, but was able to complete a bullpen session on the 24th.

Kluber’s Cy Young journey will conclude on Saturday night against a White Sox club that he has gone 3-0 against this season in four starts with a 2.86 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, and one complete game shutout. He has factored in all but two decisions in the second half of the season and each of his last eleven. He has won six straight starts, lasting at least seven innings every time out. In fact, in the second half of the season, he has failed to pitch into the seventh inning just one time (five and one-third innings on August 18 against Kansas City in a 10-1 win over the Royals).

Sunday, 10/1, 3:10 PM ET – RHP Chris Volstad (1-1, 4.73) vs. RHP Josh Tomlin (9-9, 5.11)

The 6’8” right-hander Volstad jumped into the White Sox rotation on Tuesday to make his first Major League start since October of 2012. He worked five innings, allowing six runs on six hits (including three home runs) in a loss to the Angels. The 31-year-old has spent the majority of his career in the National League, previously appearing with the Florida Marlins, the Chicago Cubs, the Colorado Rockies, and the Pittsburgh Pirates before joining the Sox just prior to last season. He has spent the bulk of his time in the minors for Chicago until joining the bullpen in September. It will be his first career appearance against the Indians.

Tomlin will get one last stab at ten wins on the season as he looks to join four other Tribe starters in reaching that plateau this year. He has been stuck on nine over his last three starts, as he has taken no-decisions in each outing. He still has a five-game winning streak, dating back to June 25. His last time out, he allowed four runs on eight hits in three and two-thirds innings before an early hook on Tuesday. He has faced the White Sox twice this season, taking a pair of losses before his most recent start against them, when he threw four no-hit innings before leaving with an injury that would land him on the disabled list.


TV (all) – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; CSN-C (9/29 & 10/1); WGN (9/30)
Radio (all) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WLS 890 (Chicago)


Cody Anderson (SP) – out for season – right elbow surgery
Dylan Baker (P) – 60-day disabled list (9/1) – undisclosed
Michael Brantley (LF) – 10-day disabled list (8/9) – right ankle sprain
Brandon Guyer (OF) – day-to-day (9/15) – left wrist soreness
Boone Logan (RP) – 60-day disabled list (7/20) – left lat muscle
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – expected to miss rest of season (9/11) – surgery on broken fourth metacarpal in left hand

Chicago (AL):
Leury Garcia (OF) – 10-day disabled list (9/2) – sprained right thumb
Nate Jones (RP) – out for season – recovery from July 2017 right elbow surgery
Jake Petricka (P) – 10-day disabled list (9/5) – right elbow strain
Zach Putnam (RP) – out for season – recovery from June 2017 Tommy John surgery
Carlos Rodon (SP) – out for season – recovery from September 2017 left shoulder surgery
Geovany Soto (C) – 60-day disabled list (5/15) – recovery from May 2017 right elbow surgery
Charlie Tilson (OF) – 60-day disabled list (3/30) – stress reaction in right foot


Team Record Win % GB Streak E#
 LA Dodgers  102-57  .642  –  W4
 Cleveland  100-59  .629  2.0  W2 1
 Houston  99-60  .623  3.0  W4 E


Abreu - Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Abreu – Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Jose Abreu’s season has been an impressive one for the disappointing Sox, despite all of the turmoil and roster shuffling around him. He has hit .306 on the year with 33 doubles and 102 RBI. He is second in the league in extra base hits with 81 and has been hit by 15 pitches, third in the AL. His 42 doubles on the year are eighth in the league, his 187 hits are good for fourth, and his surprising six triples are tied for third-most.

Avisail Garcia is the league’s second leading hitter with a .331 average, trailing only Houston’s Jose Altuve (.350). He has had a good year in the lineup for the White Sox, hitting 27 doubles, five triples, and 18 homers and driving in 80 runs. He has not slowed down any in the second half of the campaign, leading the club with a .360 average in 56 games with ten doubles, seven homers, and 29 RBI.

Nick Delmonico is second on the club in homers in the second half with nine. He has done that in 42 games after missing time on the disabled list. Tim Anderson has hit .284 in the second half with 15 doubles, three triples, and eight home runs.

Yolmer Sanchez is second in the league with eight triples, trailing only Detroit’s Nicholas Castellanos (10).


Jose Ramirez’s tear through the league’s pitching has continued in the last month, as he has hit .391 with a .429 on-base percentage and an .862 slugging mark (1.291 OPS). In that span of 22 games, he has hit 12 doubles, a triple, and nine homers while driving in 19 runs and scoring 20 times. He is second in all of baseball in extra base hits with 88, trailing only Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton’s 90.

Francisco Lindor has inched into consideration for some outside votes in the Most Valuable Player voting behind a solid second half of play after a disappointing first half. In the last 30 days, he has worked in 28 games and hit .322 with a .397 OBP and .678 slugging. He is second on the team in that stretch with ten doubles (trailing only Ramirez), is tied for the team lead in homers (nine, with Ramirez), and leads the club in triples with a pair. He is second among regulars in the lineup in hitting in the second half with a .308 mark. With 81 extra base hits, he is one of just three players in the American League with a total that high, joining teammate Ramirez (88) and Chicago’s Abreu (81). Lindor has stood in the batter’s box more than any other AL player (710 times) and third-most in all of baseball (Atlanta’s Ender Inciarte, 717; Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon, 715).

While the Indians’ outfield has been hit hard by the injury bug this season, Austin Jackson has made the most of his playing time when not himself on the disabled list. He has been a spark to the offense, especially in the second half. In 46 games since the All-Star break, he has hit .326 with a .384 on-base percentage with ten doubles, two triples, four homers, and 19 RBI. He has scored 32 runs in that span.


The Indians will sit and await word of their competition for the American League Division Series, with the AL Wild Card game set to take place on Tuesday night between what appears to be the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins.

The Tribe will return to action on Thursday in Game 1 of the ALDS, with Corey Kluber on the mound for the club. Game time has not yet been announced by Major League Baseball.

Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images



Carrasco in Control as Cleveland Claims 100th Win; Indians 5, Twins 2


The Indians and Carlos Carrasco took full advantage of a Minnesota Twins lineup missing plenty of its regulars on Thursday as Cleveland rolled to a 5-2 victory and its 100th win of the 2017 season.

Less than 12 hours after the Twins celebrated a remarkable run to the postseason when they claimed the final playoff spot in the American League, Minnesota returned to the field looking to deal the Indians their first series loss since July 31-August 1 in Boston. A lineup full of bench pieces and late season call-ups would not be up to the task as Carrasco shut the Twins down in his final playoff tune up.

Carrasco’s start was not without some foot traffic to worry about, but he several times took matters into his own hands to keep the Twins from finding the scoreboard. He walked Jorge Polanco on four straight pitches with two outs in the first, but struck out cleanup hitter Kennys Vargas to end the inning. Max Kepler led off the second with a single, but a fielder’s choice and a pair of swinging strikeouts got him out of the inning with a runner still standing at first.

The Indians threatened for the first time in the bottom of the second against Ervin Santana, who was pitching on short rest to get him lined up to make the start on Tuesday in the Twins’ Wild Card Game against an AL East opponent yet to be determined (New York or Boston). Edwin Encarnacion singled to start the inning and moved to second on a one-out base hit by Carlos Santana. Lonnie Chisenhall struck out for the second out and Encarnacion was thrown out at third trying to advance on a ball that got away from catcher Jason Castro.

Kipnis – Jason Miller/Getty Images

Carrasco allowed another base runner in the third, when Ehire Adrianza singled to right with two down, but Polanco grounded to first to strand another runner. He had to work a little harder two innings later, when Castro singled to start the fifth and Zach Granite singled with two down, but Carrasco notched his third whiff of the inning by striking out Adrianza to leave runners on the corners.

The Twins’ Santana dodged three scoring threats by the Tribe through five innings before turning the game over to Trevor Hildenberger and the Minnesota bullpen. The Indians took advantage of the new pitcher on the mound as Francisco Lindor doubled to left-center and Jason Kipnis homered to right, putting Cleveland on top, 2-0.

Carrasco struck out three batters again in the seventh after a Robbie Grossman single to right to start the inning. Grossman moved to second on a passed ball with former Indians catcher Chris Gimenez at the plate, but Carrasco K’d his ex-teammate along with Mitch Garver and Niko Goodrum to get out of another inning.

Alan Busenitz took over on the mound for the bottom of the seventh and the Indians got to him for a pair of insurance runs. After Santana flied to right to start the inning, Greg Allen reached on a single to third. Roberto Perez sent the third fastball that he saw up and in up and over the wall in right for the Indians’ second two-run home run of the afternoon, pushing the Tribe’s lead to 4-0.

Carrasco came back out for the eighth, adding two more strikeouts to his tally to give him 13 on the day while leaving him one out short of 200 innings of work on the season. Jay Bruce delivered the Indians’ third homer of the game in the bottom half of the frame, as his two-out drive to deep right was his 35th of the season and his sixth with the Tribe, giving Cleveland a 5-0 lead.

Carrasco returned for the ninth to face the switch-hitting Vargas. After getting ahead 0-2, he fell behind with three straight pitches out of the zone. His last one to Vargas was a called strike three, giving him an even 200 innings worked on the year and 14 strikeouts on the afternoon. He left to a loud ovation as Craig Breslow entered in relief. He would give up a single to Kepler before Grossman struck out for the second out. Nick Goody came on and plunked Gimenez before giving up a triple over Tyler Naquin in right to end the shutout on the two-run three-base hit, but Goodrum flied to center to give the game its final 5-2 score.

The Indians (100-59) won their tenth consecutive series and are now 14-0-3 in series since the first trading deadline, when they dropped a pair of games in Boston to the Red Sox. They improved their lead for the top record in the AL to 1.5 games, with Houston playing in Boston later in the day in the first of four games pitting the Astros and Red Sox against one another. Holding the tie-breaker over the Astros, the Indians’ magic number was reduced to two games to clinch home field advantage throughout the AL bracket. The 100th win of the season united the 2017 squad with the 1995 Indians (100) and 1954 club (111) as the third group in franchise history to reach the 100-win plateau.

The Twins dropped to 83-76 with the loss and finished the season 6-3 against the Indians at Progressive Field.

Carrasco - Jason Miller/Getty Images

Carrasco – Jason Miller/Getty Images

Carrasco (18-6) joined Corey Kluber and Kansas City’s Jason Vargas as the third AL pitcher to win 18 games on the year. He came two outs away from another complete game, but it took nothing away from a strong final start to his regular season. In eight and one-third scoreless innings of work, he allowed six hits and a walk while striking out 14.

Santana took a no-decision after another good start against Cleveland. He worked five scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out one. He allowed just one earned run against the Indians in 24 innings this season. Hildenberger dropped to 3-3 with the loss after allowing the first two Indians runs of the day in an inning of work.

The Chicago White Sox will come to town for the final three games of the regular season, beginning with Friday’s 7:10 PM ET first pitch. Trevor Bauer (16-9, 4.28 ERA) will make his final start ahead of the postseason, while the White Sox had not yet announced formally a starter for the evening contest.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images