With six days left in this shortened MLB regular season, the American League Central is still up for grabs. The first-place Chicago White Sox (34-20) have clinched a playoff spot, and the Cleveland Indians (30-24) can join them with one more win. Tuesday night’s contest begins at 6:10 p.m. ET at Progressive Field in Cleveland and can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago, SportsTime Ohio, and the MLB At-Bat App.
The game was initially expected to feature AL Cy Young favorite Shane Bieber on the hill for Cleveland, but with the playoffs in sight, the Indians changed to RHP Cal Quantrill (2-0, 2.52) in a bullpen game. The White Sox will throw RHP Reynaldo Lopez (1-2, 5.40).
The Indians won Monday’s game 7-4 and lead the season series 5-2 with a 3-1 mark in Cleveland.
Chicago White Sox Keep Slugging
The first-place White Sox are still in contention for the top seed in the AL, trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by 1.5 games with six games left. After the three games in Cleveland, they return home for a cross-town series against the playoff-bound Cubs.
The White Sox offense is loaded with MVP candidates, including Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson. Abreu is batting .333 on the season with 18 homers, 14 doubles, 55 RBI, and 40 runs scored. Meanwhile, Anderson is batting .355 with 10 home runs, 21 RBI, and 44 runs scored.
Not to be outdone, Eloy Jimenez has 14 home runs and 41 RBI to go along with a .297 average. OF Luis Robert has struggled in September but boasts 11 homers and 30 RBI on the season, while Edwin Encarnacion has 10 home runs and 18 RBI.
Lopez has put together three-straight strong outings after returning to the rotation. In 12 innings this month, he has allowed just four earned runs, three of those over 5 1/3 innings against the Twins on Thursday. Indians Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez have homers against Lopez while Tyler Naquin has three RBI in seven at-bats.
Cleveland Indians Putting Champagne on Ice
The Indian’s magic number for a playoff spot is one, and they are 2.5 games behind Minnesota for second place and four games behind the White Sox. After facing the White Sox the next three days, they will host the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend.
Ramirez is a sneaky MVP candidate in the AL, batting .290 with 16 home runs, 41 RBI, and 41 runs scored. In September, he is batting .381 with nine home runs and 19 RBI in 17 games. Lindor is also finishing strong with a .278 average, three home runs, and 11 RBI in 19 games this month.
Quantrill has never faced the White Sox, and the only batter on the roster he has faced is Jarrod Dyson, who is 0-for-4. Quantrill has only one start on the season, and it came while he was on the San Diego Padres, and he allowed one run over 3 2/3 innings. With the Indians, his longest outing has been two innings, done twice, including his last outing on Saturday.
Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians Betting Lines
- White Sox run line: +1.5 (-122)
- White Sox money line: +164
- Indians run line: -1.5 (+104)
- Indians money line: 190
- Run Total: 8 runs (Over -112, Under -106)
The Indians used three of their best relievers on Monday night, so it will be interesting to see who follows Quantrill on Tuesday. That could play into the White Sox hands with their relentless approach at the plate. Lopez has been better recently but has allowed six homers in 20 innings on the season while posting a 1.55 WHIP.
FREE BET: Over eight runs (-112)