The final week of the regular season for a pair of AL Central teams begins with a series in the Windy City. The Cleveland Indians Cleveland Indians are on the road as they play the opening game of a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox Monday night. Cleveland played the rubber game of their three-game set with the Red Sox in a battle of division leaders at home Sunday night. Chicago dropped the rubber game of their three-game interleague set with the Cubs as they were beaten 6-1 Sunday afternoon at home. The Indians took two of the three meetings between the teams in the last series, which came in Cleveland September 18-20.
Cleveland Indians Marking Time Before Postseason Begins
Cleveland managed to pick up the win Saturday despite letting a lead slip away for the second straight game. The Indians earned a split of the first two games by winning in walk-off fashion Saturday. Cleveland entered Sunday 86-68 on the season and held a 14.5 game lead on the Twins in the AL Central. Michael Brantley (RBI) had three hits for the Tribe while Francisco Lindor (two RBI), Yan Gomes (run, RBI) and Josh Donaldson (run, RBI) each had two. Mike Clevinger didn’t record a decision as he allowed two runs on three hits with five walks and six strikeouts over five innings. Tyler Olson (2-1) picked up the win as he threw two scoreless innings of relief.
Corey Kluber is expected to make his 32nd start of the season for the Indians. He is 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, 31 walks and 205 strikeouts over 203 innings of work. Kluber picked up the win in his last start, which came Tuesday at home against the White Sox. He threw eight innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts in a 5-3 Indians victory. Kluber is 2-0 with a 4.41 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, four walks and 25 strikeouts over 16.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 24th career appearance and 23rd start against the White Sox in this contest. Kluber is 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, 30 walks and 173 strikeouts over 153.2 innings of work. In his career, he is 5-2 with a 2.94 ERA, a 1.137 WHIP, 13 walks and 81 strikeouts over 70.1 innings in 10 career starts at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Chicago White Sox Closing Out Tough Season
Chicago came up on the short end of the stick in the rubber game of their set against the Cubs in what was Hawk Harrelson’s final broadcast. The White Sox fell to 61-94 on the season and trailed the Indians by 25.5 games in the AL Central entering Sunday night. Chicago had only four hits in the game: Tim Anderson (RBI) had two of them. He drove in Welington Castillo with the team’s only run in the fifth inning. Carlos Rodon (6-7) struggled again to fall to 0-4 in September. He gave up six runs on nine hits with no walks and three strikeouts over 2.1 innings of work.
Dylan Covey is on the mound for his 26th appearance and 20th start of the year for the White Sox. He steps in for the injured Michael Kopech, who suffered a torn UCL and is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery. On the year, he is 5-13 with a 5.33 ERA, a 1.514 WHIP, 49 walks and 81 strikeouts over 109.2 innings of work. Covey didn’t factor in the decision in his last outing, which came in a start on the road against the Indians Wednesday. He threw six scoreless innings, allowing two hits with three walks and five strikeouts in an eventual 4-1 White Sox loss. Covey is 0-2 with a 3.94 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP, nine walks and 15 strikeouts over 16 innings of work in his last three starts. He makes his eighth career appearance and sixth start against the Indians in this contest. In those outings, he is 1-2 with a 4.82 ERA, a 1.679 WHIP, 16 walks and 20 strikeouts over 28 innings. Covey is 3-7 with a 4.80 ERA, a 1.435 WHIP, 37 walks and 71 strikeouts over 84.1 innings in 21 career appearances, 13 starts, at Guaranteed Rate Field.
- White Sox are 1-4 in their last 5 games vs. a right-handed starter
- White Sox are 1-7 in their last 8 home games
- White Sox are 0-4 in their last 4 home games vs. a right-handed starter
- Indians are 5-0 in Kluber’s last 5 starts with 5 days of rest
- Indians are 12-2 in Kluber’s last 14 road starts vs. a team with a losing record
- Indians are 26-6 in Kluber’s last 32 starts vs. American League Central
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Kluber has pitched well against the White Sox in his career and even if he has a shortened outing here to stay fresh for the playoffs, he’s capable of picking up a win. The White Sox are going nowhere fast and Covey has been awful over the last couple of months. With Chicago missing some of their key pieces in their lineup, you have to lean toward the Indians in this contest. Look for Kluber to get his 20th win as Cleveland takes the season opener.
Prediction: Cleveland Indians -260
Full-Game Total Pick
Kluber has been pitching well down the stretch and has a shot at becoming the second pitcher in the AL to hit the 20 win plateau behind Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell. Facing a White Sox team with nothing to play for should work in the Indians’ favor. Realistically, both teams have nothing to play for as the White Sox are looking at a high draft pick for next season. The Indians are locked into their playoff spot and will face whoever wins the AL West in the American League Division Series. Can the Tribe finish the regular season strong in order to be ready for the postseason?
The over is 3-0-2 in the Indians’ last 5 during game 1 of a series, 4-1 in their last 5 Monday games, 8-1 in Kluber’s last 9 road starts, 5-1 in his last 6 road starts vs. a team with a losing record and 9-2 in his last 11 starts on Monday. Chicago has seen the over go 3-1-1 in Covey’s last 5 starts following a team loss in their previous game. The over is 5-1-1 in Kluber’s last seven starts against the White Sox: this one likely follows a similar trend as the Tribe roughs up Covey.
Prediction: Over 9
Full-Game Prop Bet
While Covey tossed six shutout frames against the Indians last week, it’s important to note that was more the deviation than the norm. He has a 4.82 ERA against Cleveland in his career even after that outing. The Tribe is one of the best offenses in the league and they aren’t kept in check very often. A case in point: the Indians put up 14 runs in their three game set with the Red Sox where two of those games were started by Chris Sale and Rick Porcello. It’s hard to even mention Covey in the same breath. Cleveland should break out a bit offensively here.
Prediction: Cleveland Indians Over 5.5 -130
First Five Innings Side Pick
Covey is only back in the rotation due to the UCL injury that Kopech suffered earlier this month. He hasn’t done anything to prove that he deserves to stay in the rotation in 2019. Covey is 2-8 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 14 appearances, eight starts, in the second half of the season. Facing Kluber isn’t going to help his numbers any. The Indians should have this one comfortably in hand after five as it’s hard to see Covey replicating the success of his last start against the Tribe.
Prediction: Cleveland Indians -300
First Five Innings Total Bet
Cleveland is a very talented, very deep lineup that can hurt you anywhere from one through nine. There are probably guys on the Indians’ bench who can outproduce the starters in the White Sox lineup. Covey has had problems with his control and with missing bats at times this season. While his peripherals have improved some in the second half, his K:BB ratio still sits the same at 1.65 on the year. The Indians will be patient and attack the pitch they want. This one should be over the number after five innings.
Prediction: Over 4.5 -105
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
Kluber hasn’t been infallible in the opening innings of games this season. He has a 3.48 ERA in the first inning as opponents have a .230/.256/.416 slash line against him in the frame. Those numbers drop to 3.26 with a .228/.264/.386 line in the second and 2.17 with a .236/.270/.377 mark in the third. Covey, on the other hand, has a 4.82 ERA in the first three innings while opponents post a .236/.333/.358 slash line. He has a 6.16 ERA in the second inning this season: Cleveland should be able to take advantage to get on the board first.
Prediction: Cleveland Indians to Score First -130