The Indians are quietly building a sizable lead in the AL Central standings and lead the second-place Detroit Tigers by 5.5-games heading into play on Tuesday night. The rest of the division has been playing particularly poorly this season with four of the five teams at least five games below the .500-mark on the year.
Bauer looking to build on career year
Cleveland is scheduled to hand the ball to right-hander Trevor Bauer, who continues to improve on the mound as a member of the Indians. Bauer has completed six innings or more in 10 of his last 12 starts and is fresh off of tossing eight innings of one-run ball on the road against the division-rival Tigers. He managed to scatter seven hits and a walk by striking out 12 Tigers on the night to earn his fifth victory of the season. He enters Wednesday’s outing with a 5-4 overall record despite sporting a stellar 2.62 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 13 starts, while striking out 109 batters in 86 innings of work. Bauer’s ERA has decreased in each of his last four seasons with the Indians and he’s striking out more batters now than at any other point in his MLB career.
While the 27-year-old hasn’t pitched against the White Sox yet this season, he is no stranger to the team from the south side of Chicago. Bauer dominated the White Sox in two outings against them in 2017, going 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA, while striking out 16 batters in 12 ⅓ innings of work. Since 2015, he is 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 12 appearances and 10 total starts against the White Sox.
Covey one of the few bright spots for White Sox
Chicago is expected to counter by sending right-hander Dylan Covey to the mound at Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday night. The White Sox right-hander has been one of the few reclamation projects that have been able to turn things around in 2018. After walking 34 batters and allowing a whopping 20 home runs in limited action last season, Covey has produced a 2.25 ERA across five starts this year, spanning 22 ⅓ innings of work. He has completed six innings or more in three of his five starts this season and is coming off of his best outing of the year on the road against a dangerous Boston Red Sox lineup. Covey scattered three hits and a walk over six shutout innings against the Red Sox, while striking out seven batters on the night to get over the .500-mark for the season. He comes in with a 2-1 overall record to go along with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP so far this year.
- Indians are 40-13 in their last 53 vs. American League Central.
- Indians are 20-7 in their last 27 during game 3 of a series.
- White Sox are 3-11 in their last 14 vs. American League Central.
- White Sox are 3-13 in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
As good as Covey has been on the mound for the White Sox this season, it is tough to see him out-dueling Bauer in this one. Bauer has been lights out against the White Sox over the past three-plus seasons, going 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 10 starts against them during that span. Covey, meanwhile, got lit up in his only start against the Indians this year, allowing five runs (two earned) in 4 ⅓ innings of work on May 28. Look for Cleveland to send Covey’s 2.25 ERA crashing back down to earth here and take them to come away with a win in the final game of their divisional series at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Pick: Cleveland Indians
Both pitchers on the mound are in the midst of career years right now. Bauer is striking out more batters per nine innings than at any other point in his big league career, while Covey seems to have found some confidence on the mound this season for the White Sox. Covey’s strikeout numbers are up more than 3.5 K/9 compared to last year and his 2.29 FIP and 3.38 xFIP suggest that he could continue his success on the mound in 2018. Look for this game to stay under the projected total on Wednesday night.
- Under is 11-4-1 in Indians last 16 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400.
- Under is 19-7-2 in Indians last 28 Wednesday games.
- Under is 20-6-2 in White Sox last 28 during game 3 of a series.
- Under is 18-7-3 in White Sox last 28 overall.