Thursday Night Baseball: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians

The White Sox visit Progressive Field in Cleveland on Thursday night, where they will take on the Cleveland Indians. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 pm central. These two teams are on nearly opposite sides of their division, but both have some very talented players donning their uniforms.

Cleveland’s record stands at 85-66, and they are in first place in the American League Central division. In fact, Cleveland has already become the first team in the league to have clinched their division. The Twins did their best to hang with them throughout the season, but were never able to get “Over the hump” to really make a race out of it. Their lead over the Twins is technically 14 and a half games.

The White Sox, on the other hand, never even got close. They showed themselves to be one of the bottom feeders in the league since Opening Day. They sit at a paltry 59-92, 26 games out and 31 and a half games out of the Wild Card. Their rebuild has shown some young talent as of late, but Michael Kopech’s Tommy John surgery, albeit successful, has slowed the excitement of many White Sox fans, although they have many other top level prospects expected to make an impact during the next few years and beyond. Cleveland is heavily favored in this matchup: at -196.

Pitching Matchup

Veteran James Shields will be on the mound for Chicago in this one. had this to say about the righty:

“Shields’ victory Friday in Baltimore marked the first time since Opening Day in Kansas City that the right-hander picked up a win on the road. Shields has a 5-8 career record against the Indians and is 3-3 with a 4.47 ERA at Progressive Field.”

Shields hasn’t looked that great this year, but made some improvements on his performance last year. He is 7-16 on the year, but has looked like his old self when he has his proverbial “Stuff”. His ERA sits at a mediocre 4.53 currently. Shields will need to pull a rabbit out of his hat to get the White Sox a win in this one.

For Cleveland, Josh Tomlin will be pitching. According to

“Tomlin returned to the rotation on Friday against the Tigers and allowed two runs on five hits in four innings (62 pitches). The righty has gone 0-3 with a 7.68 ERA in seven starts this year, giving up 16 homers in 34 innings.”

Tomlin will need to improve on his recent performance in order to win this one.

Head to Head

The White Sox’s trump card, Jose Abreu, is missing the series with a thigh infection. Although he was released from a Cleveland hospital yesterday, he will still be sitting this one out. The player that Tomlin will need to key in on is Daniel Palka. The young slugger has 26 home runs and has been hot lately. If he gets ahold of a couple balls in this one, watch out. Michael Brantley has the highest batting average for the Indians, hitting .304 on the year. However, the Indians have many weapons, so Shields will need to be on his game.

White Sox upset Indians

This may seem Ludacris to many fans, but the main reason for this prediction is Josh Tomlin. He has been extremely shaky this season, and the White Sox do have some tremendously talented bats in their lineup such as the aforementioned Palka, Yoan Moncada, and Tim Anderson. Although Eloy Jimenez, their best hitter, is in Triple-A Charlotte, they should be able to best the right-hander whose ERA begins with a 6 and has been giving out homers like candy. Bet on the White Sox at +168.

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