The two teams split the first two games of the series heading into play on Wednesday. The Indians shutout the White Sox in Game 1 behind a brilliant performance by right-hander Carlos Carrasco. The tides turned in Game 2, as James Shields out-dueled Adam Plutko by tossing seven innings of one-run ball to help the White Sox defeat the Cleveland by the score of 5-1.
Clevinger eating innings for Indians
The Indians will finish off the series by handing the ball to right-hander Mike Clevinger, who took a no-decision in his last start, despite putting together a quality outing on the road in Detroit. Clevinger allowed two runs on four hits in 6 ⅔ innings of work, striking out five and walking three on the night. The 27-year-old has completed six innings or more in 9 of his last 10 outings. Clevinger is striking out nearly three less batters per nine so far this season, but he’s managed to cut down on the number of free passes and home runs that he’s allowed so far this season, which has helped him keep his ERA at a respectable number. The Indians right-hander enters Thursday’s start with a 3.31 ERA to go along with a 4-2 record in 13 starts this year.
Clevinger took the mound against the White Sox earlier this season and tossed 6 ⅔ innings of one-run ball against them on May 29 to get his first career win against the White Sox. Before that outing, Clevinger sported a career 5.65 ERA to go along with an 0-2 record against the White Sox in four appearances and two total starts versus the division rivals.
Rodon looks to build on successful 2018 debut
The White Sox are expected to counter with left-hander Carlos Rodon, who recently made his 2018 big league debut. Rodon tossed five innings of four-run ball (two earned) on the road against the Red Sox in his first start of the year, striking out seven batters and walking just two on the night, but was saddled with a loss despite a solid effort. He comes in with an 0-1 record to go along with a 3.60 ERA for the season, but was absolutely dominating at the Triple-A level before being called up. In three Triple-A starts this season, Rodon was striking out a whopping 15.63 batters per nine innings, while sporting a 1.42 ERA and a 1.04 FIP.
Several baseball pundits have projected Rodon as a future ace and have been waiting for him to breakout on the mound since he went 9-6 with the White Sox in 2015. However, since then, it has been a rocky road for the White Sox lefty, who has posted an 11-16 overall record and an ERA over 4.00 on the mound during that span.
Despite his struggles over the past few seasons, Rodon has been absolutely dominant against the Indians throughout his young career. He is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA lifetime against the Indians, including 6 ⅔ innings of one-run ball in his lone start against them last season.
- Indians are 1-6 in Clevinger’s last 7 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.
- Indians are 0-4 in Clevinger’s last 4 road starts.
- White Sox are 7-3 in Rodon’s last 10 home starts vs. a team with a winning record.
- White Sox are 18-8 in Rodon’s last 26 starts with 4 days of rest.
The White Sox enter action on Wednesday having won five of their last eight games and they should have a good chance to pull this one out at home with Rodon on the mound. Rodon has terrific stuff, but has struggled with consistency on the mound during his MLB career. If he can keep the walks down, this could turn out to be a good, old-fashioned pitcher’s duel. There is some value in taking the White Sox here, so I’m going to lean towards them in what should be a low-scoring game on Thursday night.
Pick: Chicago White Sox
Both pitchers have terrific numbers against the opposition heading into Thursday’s series finale, so runs could be hard to come by here. According to Baseball Savant, the current White Sox roster is batting just .214 in 44 plate appearances against Clevinger, who owns a 2.47 FIP in his career against the Chicago. The White Sox own an expected weighted on-base percentage of .225 and an expected batting average of just .180 against the Indians’ right-hander heading into Thursday’s start. Meanwhile, the Indians have not fared well against Rodon either. They are batting just .221 against him in 131 plate appearances and enter the series finale with an expected slugging percentage of just .311 versus Rodon. With that being said, look for this game to go under the projected total at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday night.
- Under is 5-2-1 in Clevinger’s last 8 starts following a team loss in their previous game.
- Under is 7-3 in Clevinger’s last 10 road starts vs. a team with a losing record.
- Under is 6-2 in White Sox last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Under is 19-7-3 in White Sox last 29 overall.