|Indians' Bauer starts at White Sox, where earlier injured|
Cleveland Indians Trevor Bauer missed more than a month because of a stress fracture in his right fibula.
Now, the immensely talented 27-year-old will return to the scene of the crime.
Bauer (12-6, 2.21 ERA) will make his second start since being activated off the disabled list when the Indians visit the Chicago White Sox for the second installment of a three-game series on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. It is the same ballpark where he was injured Aug. 11 when White Sox slugger Jose Abreu drilled a line drive off his leg.
Cleveland (88-68) already has clinched its third straight American League Central division title. But the Indians know that a healthy Bauer will make a huge difference as they pursue their first World Series title since 1948.
Bauer tossed 34 pitches in his return from the disabled list Friday against the Boston Red Sox. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out one without allowing a run in 1 1/3 innings.
Now, the right-hander will try to increase his pitch count as the playoffs approach. If the Indians deem him ready for the postseason rotation, he could knock teammate Shane Bieber out of a starting role.
Bauer is 8-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 17 appearances (15 starts) against the White Sox in his career. He has walked 31 and struck out 117 in 97 innings during those matchups.
Bauer said he was happy with his velocity in his first start back from his fracture.
"I never really doubted that I would be able to turn it loose," he said to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I'm pretty good mentally at being able to flip that switch. I go through it all the time in the offseason. That's part of the benefit of having the offseason program I do -- the velocity training I do. You see a number of the radar board and you're like, 'OK, that's not good enough.' And you have to find a way to access the next step, the next level."
Chicago (61-95) is looking to finish the season on a high note before shifting its focus toward the 2019 campaign. The White Sox have lost six of their last eight and 13 of their last 18.
However, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said the final week could have an effect on the start of next season.
"I think it does," Renteria said to the Chicago Tribune. "They probably can equate some significant change in their routine or consistency in doing things to validate their outcomes, and then everybody can put their heads together and evaluate what they need to do to repeat that."
White Sox right-hander James Shields (7-16, 4.48 ERA) will make his 33rd start of the season. The longtime veteran has a career mark of 145-139 with a 4.01 ERA in 406 games (404 starts).
The 36-year-old Shields needs four outs to post his first 200-inning effort since 2015. He has reached the milestone nine times, including tossing a league high 228 2/3 innings in 2013 with the Kansas City Royals.
In 23 career starts against Cleveland, Shields is 5-8 with a 3.76 ERA.
Chicago is 29-50 at home this season. Cleveland is 39-36 on the road.