After pummeling the Chicago White Sox last night, the Indians turn their attention to another AL Central foe in Kansas City. The Indians put the White Sox away early, as they extended their lead to 7-0 in the 5th inning. The White Sox aren’t coming back from that, but the Indians didn’t stop there, as they added 3 more runs to hit double digits. The White Sox registered just 3 hits in the game.
Shane Bieber looked sharp across 6 innings of working, allowing just 2 hits and showing that his arm could be valuable out of the bullpen for the Indians in the postseason. They’ve been using Adam Plutko as a starter recently as well. He may find his way into the bullpen, but after this start by Bieber, I think it’d be tough to keep him out. Their rotation will likely consist of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, and Mike Clevinger.
Former starting pitcher, Josh Tomlin, will have an opportunity to start a game tonight. He’s been used out of the bullpen and in spot starts occasionally in 2018. Tomlin has spent his entire eight-year professional career in Cleveland. He’s had trouble developing into a true starter, but Tomlin has been valuable in spots over the course of his major league career.
After he struggled in a starting capacity last season, the Indians there wasn’t going to be any room for him in the starting rotation. With the season winding down and the Indians looking to stay healthy, Tomlin will get the start on Thursday. He will be a free agent in the offseason, so it could be an opportunity to show that he can be a bottom of the rotation option for a team in 2019. Glenn Sparkman will make the third start of his career against the Tribe tonight. Get our free Indians vs. Royals pick below.
Cleveland Indians vs. K.C. Royals Pick
Josh Tomlin (2-5, 6.44 ERA) vs. Glenn Sparkman (0-3, 4.86 ERA)
Tomlin has made only two starts since May 14th and for good reason. He got hammered for 19 runs in four straight starts and was quickly demoted to the bullpen following that train wreck. Tomlin didn’t see the mound as a starter again until September 14th against the Tigers. He was okay with 5 hits and 2 runs allowed across 4 innings. His next start against the White Sox didn’t go so well, as he looked like the same pitcher from May, allowing 8 hits and 4 runs in 4 innings.
The Indians offense is considerably better than the Tigers and White Sox, so we’ll see how he handles this. Cleveland are 3rd in the majors in runs scored, while the Tigers are 26th and the White Sox 24th. The Royals are hitting .296 with a .310 OBP against Tomlin in 196 at-bats. In his last three outings, he’s posted an ERA of 6.75 and 1.50 WHIP. His numbers have been worse on the road as well, with a 6.98 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 29.2 innings.
Sparkman will make the third start of the year and his career in the majors this evening. He made 2 appearances against the Blue Jays last season and got chased after allowing 7 runs total in 1 inning. 9 hits, 7 runs, and that was just in 1 inning combined in two outings. It equated to a staggering ERA of 63.00, which may be the worst stat line I’ve seen from a pitcher in just an inning of work.
He couldn’t do much worse than that, and he hasn’t in 2018, but he still has some work to do in the offseason if he wants to be with the Royals fulltime in 2019. He enters with an ERA of 4.86 and 1.71 WHIP. If he doesn’t do well early in this one, it opens up the doors to a bullpen that have a team ERA of 5.03 for 28th in the majors. For the Tribe, they currently have the worst bullpen out of teams that have clinched a postseason spot, with a 4.50 ERA. Josh Tomlin vs. Glenn Sparkman looks like an ugly pitching matchup, but with that said, it should be an opportunity to cash in on the OVER.