CLEVELAND -- Two veteran pitchers nearing the end of forgettable seasons will oppose each other on the mound Wednesday night as the Cleveland Indians host the Chicago White Sox in the final contest of their three-game series.
Cleveland's starter will be 33-year-old Josh Tomlin (1-5, 6.49 ERA), while the White Sox starter will be 36-year-old James Shields (7-16, 4.53).
Tomlin, who won 10 games last year and 13 in 2016, lost his spot in Cleveland's starting rotation early in this season and has spent most of the year being used out of the bullpen. In seven starts, he is 0-3 with a 7.68 ERA. In 22 relief appearances, he is 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA.
With Cleveland manager Terry Francona tinkering with his starting rotation in preparation for the postseason, Tomlin has made some spot starts recently, the last of those coming Friday, when he got no decision in a 5-4 Cleveland loss to Detroit.
Tomlin pitched four innings, allowing two runs and five hits, with two strikeouts and one walk. His last start against the White Sox came Oct. 1, 2017, a 3-1 victory in which he pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run and four hits, with six strikeouts and no walks.
Tomlin has made two appearances against Chicago this year, both in relief. He's pitched a total of 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit, with one strikeout and no walks. In 16 career appearances (13 starts) against the White Sox, Tomlin is 5-5 with a 3.66 ERA.
Although the Indians have clinched the American League Central title, their remaining games are important for some players who might be on the bubble as far as being on the team's postseason roster. One of those is side-arming reliever Adam Cimber, who was acquired from San Diego in a mid-season trade that also brought closer Brad Hand to Cleveland.
Cimber, a right-hander, was very effective in San Diego, where in 42 appearances he had a 3.17 ERA and averaged 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings. However, in 23 appearances in Cleveland he has a 4.91 ERA with three strikeouts in 14 2/3 frames.
"In some cases, he hasn't pitched full innings because we have so many left-handers (in the bullpen)," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's also been really unlucky. There have been times when he has made good pitches, but a ball has hit right on the foul line, or there have been some bloop hits."
Shields is completing his 13th year in the major leagues. His last start was an 8-6 victory over Baltimore on Friday, when he pitched six innings, allowing two runs and four hits, with five strikeouts and one walk. In three starts in September, Shields is 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA.
Shields' last start against Cleveland came Aug. 11, a 3-1 loss in which he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned), seven hits, with four strikeouts and no walks. In two starts against the Indians this year, he is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA. For his career, Shields has started 22 games against Cleveland and is 5-8 with a 3.79 ERA.
The White Sox, who have lost three in a row, including the first two games of this series, need to win four of their last 11 games to avoid the fourth 100-loss season in franchise history. The White Sox are 0-8 versus the Indians at Progressive Field this year and 3-12 against them overall.