Fantasy Preview: Indians vs White Sox 30th Sep 2017
The good news for the Cleveland Indians is that they’ve wrapped up the American League Central title for quite some time now, meaning their playoff spot has long-since been reserved. But even though the team has been on an absolutely torrid pace since the All-Star break, they’re still going to have to play out these last couple of days of the season.
The Houston Astros only trail the Indians by one game in the race for the top spot in the American League playoffs, so if the Indians want to make sure that the road to the AL pennant goes through Progressive Field, they have to win at least one more game this year.
Thankfully, the Indians will be sending ace pitcher Corey Kluber to the mound in the second game of their series against the Chicago White Sox @ Indians on Saturday, September 30th. Kluber remains the favorite for the American League Cy Young award. He leads the league in ERA, wins, winning percentage, WHIP, walks per nine innings, bWAR and adjusted ERA. He’s thrown 769 pitches of his infamous breaking ball this year, and yielded only 23 hits — one hit for every 33 of said pitches. Hitters have batted .096 against it, the lowest average against any pitch by any starting pitcher.
The Indians are on the doorstep of the top seed in the AL thanks to the efforts of designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion in the first game against Chicago, on Friday, September 29th. His three-run double was part of the Indians 10-1 win over the White Sox. Encarnacion has been great since coming out of a brief mid-September slump, racking up four homers and 13 RBI over his last eight games; he went just 4-for-23 with no extra-base hits in the seven games before this stretch. The veteran DH has now cleared 100 RBI for the fifth time in the last six seasons (he had 98 in the other one), and he’s scored at least 90 runs five times in that span as well. He’s also easily set a new career high in walks with 101. At 34, Encarnacion doesn’t yet appear to be feeling old age creeping up on him.
On the White Sox side of the rout, first baseman Jose Abreu was the lone bright spot in another quiet offensive night for Chicago. The 30-year-old posted his fifth multi-homer game of the season and the 11th of his career. With a career-high 185 hits this season, the slugging first baseman is on pace to close out the campaign with a .300-plus average for the first time since his dominant 2014 season. He currently holds a gaudy .307/.358/.561 slashline with 33 long balls and 102 RBI.
Chicago will put young righty Carson Fulmer on the mound, to duel against “the Klubot.” Fulmer has compiled a 4.42 ERA and 17:11 K:BB in 18.1 innings with the White Sox, after exiting his last start after just 20 pitches due to a blister on his right index finger.