It is bittersweet, but we have reached the final week of the season. As we approach the end, the White Sox sit at 68-87. For tank watchers, if the season ended today, the White Sox would have the ninth pick in the 2020 draft. Tonight marks the first game of a seven-game homestand, which will start with Cleveland and end with Detroit.
Mike Clevinger, a 28-year-old right-hander, will start for Cleveland (92-64). Clevinger missed a decent chunk of the former part of the season, but he has been terrific since returning from injury. In 113 1⁄3 innings, Clevinger has a 2.54 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 3.00 xFIP, and 4.1 fWAR. Clevinger is excellent at missing bats, as hitters strike out against him at a rate of 12.31 K/9. If Clevinger had enough innings to qualify, he would rank third in the majors in K/9, only behind Gerrit Cole (13.57) Max Scherzer (12.61). Clevinger has pitched against the White Sox twice this year, and he was terrific in both outings. In those two starts, Clevinger combined to allow only two runs on three hits while striking out 21 in 14 innings. The White Sox have an appalling slash line of .067/.192/.156 against him.
25-year-old righty Carson Fulmer will start for the White Sox. This will be Fulmer’s second major league start of the season and his first since June 25. In 26 1⁄3 major league innings this season, Fulmer has a 5.13 ERA, 5.76 FIP, 5.83 xFIP, and -0.1 fWAR. Fulmer made an appearance on Sunday, when he pitched a 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout against the Tigers.
Given that Fulmer has not pitched more than three innings in a major league game this year, the White Sox might be using him as an opener. This would be a surprise, as Rick Renteria has voiced his negative opinion on openers. If Renteria is, in fact, using an opener, props to him.
Update: Nice job, Rick!
Renteria said pregame Fulmer was designed as the opener all along for tonight. Santiago will follow— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) September 24, 2019
The starting lineups are as follows:
Tonight’s matchup will start at 7:10 CST. WGN and ESPN (whoa, the White Sox are playing on a national stage) will televise it, and WGN 720 will have the radio coverage. With a win tonight, the White Sox would have seven more than they had all of last season. Let’s get it.