The Cleveland Indians have recorded the third 100-victory season in franchise history and look to tack on another win when they host the Chicago White Sox in Friday’s opener of a three-game set. The Indians joined their 1954 and 1995 squads, who won 111 and 100 contests, respectively.
Cleveland is still trying to hold off the Houston Astros (99-60) for best record in the American League and manager Terry Francona doesn’t want his players satisfied with reaching the century mark. “I‘m not downplaying it, because it’s really cool,” Francona told reporters. “I‘m proud of our guys. It’s meaningful. It means that we won a lot of games. But we have a lot more - hopefully - a lot more baseball ahead of us.” The Indians are 31-3 since Aug. 24 but the White Sox are also playing well with Thursday’s 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels representing their 12th victory in 19 games. Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu was hitless in four at-bats Thursday after being 9-for-21 over the previous five games.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, STO (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox RH Mike Pelfrey (3-11, 5.52 ERA) vs. Indians RH Trevor Bauer (16-9, 4.28)
Pelfrey is starting for just the second time since Aug. 6 and has lost his past six decisions. The 33-year-old’s most recent start was in an 11-2 loss against the Indians on Sept. 7 when he served up three homers and allowed seven runs and eight hits over four innings. Pelfrey is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in three appearances (two starts) against Cleveland this season and is 2-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 12 career appearances (10 starts).
Bauer received a no-decision against the Seattle Mariners in his last start - allowing one run and five hits over seven innings - for his second straight winless start after being victorious in nine consecutive decisions. The 26-year-old is 9-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 16 home starts and has allowed 15 of his 24 blasts at Progressive Field. Bauer is 5-2 with a 3.73 ERA in 13 career appearances (11 starts) against Chicago, including a victory on Sept. 4 when he gave up two runs and three hits over 6 1/3 innings.
1. The Indians are 11-5 against the White Sox this season, including 3-3 at Progressive Field.
2. Cleveland INF Jose Ramirez (88) and SS Francisco Lindor (81) are the club’s first duo to have at least 80 extra-base hits in a season since Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle in 1996.
3. Chicago LHP Carlos Rodon (shoulder) underwent arthroscopic surgery and will require a recovery period of six-to-eight months.
PREDICTION: Indians 8, White Sox 4