The Cleveland Indians knew they had the No. 1 spot in the American League locked up before the game started on Saturday, and one more contest remains before they get around to the business of working toward a return trip to the World Series. The Indians will close out the regular season by hosting the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Cleveland was battling Houston for the best record in the AL but watched the Astros fall to the Boston Red Sox early Saturday afternoon and then used 20 players in Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to the White Sox. The Indians will likely make liberal use of the 40-man September roster again on Sunday as they get in one final tune up before the postseason. The White Sox are not postseason-bound but went 15-14 in September and are putting together a solid finish while identifying the pieces they will rely on in future seasons. Chicago will try to close it out with a series win behind right-hander Chris Volstad and Josh Tomlin gets the nod for Cleveland.
TV: 3:10 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, STO (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox RH Chris Volstad (1-1, 4.73 ERA) vs. Indians RH Josh Tomlin (9-9, 5.11)
Volstad made his first start for Chicago on Tuesday and was knocked around for six runs on as many hits and one walk over five innings to suffer a loss against the Los Angeles Angels. The 31-year-old had not made a major-league appearance since 2015 before being recalled earlier this month and has not been a regular part of a rotation since he made 21 starts for the Chicago Cubs in 2012. Volstad allowed one earned run over 7 1/3 combined innings on the road this month for the White Sox.
Tomlin has not lost since June 25 but struggled against Minnesota on Monday, when he was reached for four runs and eight hits over 3 2/3 innings. The veteran Texan went 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA in five starts in September but did not complete six innings in any of those turns. Tomlin is 0-2 in three starts against Chicago this season while allowing a total of 11 runs - 10 earned - and 17 hits across 8 1/3 innings.
1. The Indians have not lost a series since dropping two games at Boston on July 31 and Aug. 1.
2. Chicago LF Nicky Delmonico (left shoulder) went back to Chicago for testing and is unlikely to play in the finale.
3. Cleveland OF Michael Brantley (ankle) played for the first time since Aug. 8 on Saturday and delivered a pinch-hit single.
PREDICTION: Indians 6, White Sox 5