|CLE (104) @ Draftkings|
My 9* Situational Stunner is on the Cle Indians at 6:10 ET.
The Chicago White Sox ended an 11-year postseason drought in 2020 by going 35-25 and earning a wild card spot in the pandemic-shortened season. Cleveland was 35-25 in 2020 as well (also earned a wild card spot) but last year was the team's FOURTH postseason appearance in the previous five years. The Indians won three straight AL Central titles (2016-18) and only non-playoff year in that run was when they won 93 games in 2019. Note: The White Sox have only won more than 93 games TWICE this century, going 95-67 in 2000 and 99-63 in 2005, when they won the World Series (just third in franchise history and first since 1917!) However, Chicago was a 'sexy' preseason pick to win the AL pennant.
Neither team is off to a good start, as the White Sox are 8-9 and the Indians are 8-7. The teams played a four-game series in Chicago from April 12-15, splitting the four games. The most notable game in last week's series was Wednesday when Carlos Rodon pitched a no-hitter in an 8-0 Chicago victory. He was within two outs of a perfect game but hit Roberto Perez on the back foot on an 0-2 pitch. Tonight's pitching matchup will be a 're-hook' from last Wednesday, with Rodon (2-0, 0.00 ERA) again squaring off against Zach Plesac (1-2, 5.27 ERA).
Rodon came into the 2021 season having made 97 appearances (92 starts) with a 29-33 record and a 4.14 ERA. he had made just 11 appearances (nine starts) in 2019 and 2020, combined. We know about his no-hitter but note that in his first start of 2021, he pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with nine Ks (6-0 win at Seattle). Rodon should be confident, as in 16 career starts vs Cleveland, the White Sox may be just 8-8 but he owns a 2.59 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.
That's all well and good but following up a no-hit effort can be a VERY tough assignment. Plesac got himself in trouble with his teammates for ignoring COVID protocols in 2020 but he has all the stuff to be a solid MLB pitcher. He was 12-6 with a 3.32 ERA in 2019 and 2020 (team was 18-11 in his 29 starts) and prior to getting just TWO outs (allowed six ERs) opposite Rodon last Wednesday, had allowed just two ERs over 13 innings of his first two starts (1.38 ERA) with a 10-2 KW ratio. Note that "getting to" a right-handed starter has been the exception, NOT the rule for the Whit Sox in 2021. Including last Wednesday's outburst, Chicago is averaging only 3.7 RPG against righties in 11 tries. Plesac comes oy the winner in this rematch.