Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians: Preview, Analysis & Best Bet – 4/20/2021

By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets

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Money Line: CWS -109 | CLE +104

Run Line: CWS -1.5 (+142) | CLE +1.5 (-162)

Total: 7.5 (O -109, U -109) 

First Pitch: 5:10 CDT | Progressive Field | Cleveland, OH

Pitching Matchup: Carlos Rodon (2-0, 0.00 ERA), Plesac (1-2, 5.27 ERA)

After splitting the last series 2-2 in Chicago, the Indians traveled to Cincinnati and lost two out of three to the Reds while the White Sox split 2-2 with the Red Sox over the weekend. Cleveland and Chicago get together for a brief two-game set in Ohio and it should be a fun one. The A.L. Central is pretty tight 2+ weeks in and the Southsiders have the opportunity to climb up the rankings. They’ll send Carlos Rodon to the bump and he threw a no-hitter last time out against this very same Indians squad. Terry Francona will counter with Zach Plesac as the Tribe looks for their second straight win. Let’s dive into each team’s form and then we’ll talk about the game from a gambling standpoint. We are red hot with our picks! 5 straight winners!

Chicago White Sox (8-9)

Carlos Rodon has looked fantastic this season. He’s thrown 14.0 innings over his two starts and has only allowed two hits and three free passes. His ERA is still a perfect 0.00 and his WHIP is sitting at 0.36. The big lefty’s fanned 16 batter this season and he ranks in the 95th percentile of major league hurlers in whiff rate. He’s using the slider extremely effectively where he boasts a whiff% of 56.5% and on two strike counts, 33.3% of the time he throws it, it ends in a strikeout.

Despite being 8-9 on the year, the White Sox are ranked 9th in batting average (.243) and 5th in runs scored (81). They were only able to muster up four runs yesterday but that game was basically over in the 4th frame. Adam Eaton picked up three RBI’s in the series finale in Boston and he’s slashing .268/.379/.482 on the young season. I’ve really enjoyed having Spanky back in this lineup even though I was hesitant when the front office decided to bring him back. And it’s super early but something to watch is Jose Abreu and his recent struggles. Over the last seven days, he’s batting .167 with no homeruns, just two RBI’s, and a strikeout rate of 35.7%. If you’ve been reading my previews, then you know I say this a lot: the Sox are sitting at 8-9 and were without Tim Anderson for a week and Moncada, Grandal, and Abreu aren’t nearly where they’ll end up this season. Once things start falling into place, this team is going to rocket into the stratosphere. 

Cleveland Indians (8-7)

Zach Plesac did not enjoy his last start. He opposed Carlos Rodon on Wednesday night in Chicago and it was a start that he’ll want to quickly put behind him. He only lasted .2 IP and allowed six earned runs on seven hits. With that rough outing, his ERA is a bit inflated at 5.27 and he owns a WHIP of 1.32. The one thing that’s probably a bit concerning with Plesac and the Tribe is that he’s only punched out 10 hitters over 13.2 IP. That equates to a K/9 mark of 6.6 in 2021 and that number was 9.3 in 2020. Once again, it’s still super early in the season but that’s something to keep an eye on if you’re an Indians fan. As for Zach’s pitch arsenal, he throws a 4-seamer 43.8% of the time and mixes in a slider (25.3%), changeup (22.1%), and an occasional curveball (8.8%). One thing that the 26-year-old righty does well is limit the walks. He’s only walked two batters out of 58 faced in 2021.

Offensively, I’ll just flat out say it – the Indians are not good. They rank 27th in team batting average (.209) and are 23rd in runs scored (57). Franmil Reyes is one of the only guys on the roster that can really make you pay if you miss your spots. But he’s in a bit of a slump since the start of the four-game set in Chicago last weekend. If I recall, he was batting around .350 entering the series but now he’s down to .235. Since the series with the Sox, he’s gone just 2-21 with one extra base hit and one RBI. That doesn’t mean he can’t turn it on, though. This is a guy, that if you’re the White Sox, you want to continue to beat down and not give him any momentum… because he will make you pay. 

Final Analysis & Best Bet

This is a tough one from a betting perspective because I’m not 100% sure what we’re going to get from Zach Plesac tonight. I went back and looked at his game logs against the White Sox and he either throws a gem or allows 4+ runs. There also isn’t much of a correlation between how Plesac performs at home vs. away against the White Sox in particular although historically he is a smidge better at home. I was going to look at his under for punchouts this game but it’s only listed at 4.5 (U +127) and that’s a little low for my liking on the basis that we know what he’s capable of. 

I am going to take a shot here with my favorite baseball bet that the market offers. It’ll give us a little cushion and some room for error if the game doesn’t pan out how we imagine. I’m taking the under on 25.5 hits, runs, and errors in this game at -115 for a unit. I really believe that Plesac’s last start was an anomaly. He’s been very serviceable since his tenure in Cleveland and similar to Lucas Giolito yesterday, sometimes those outings just happen. Like I mentioned, he is better with the home splits historically. In 2020 Plesace put up a 2.08 ERA at home compared to 2.41 on the road and his WHIP was .74 compared to .83. And this isn’t only a Zach Plesac preview so let’s talk about Carlos Rodon. He’s owned the Tribe in his career. They’re slashing just .081/.153/.107 and have no homeruns against the lefty over 93 AB’s. Cleveland’s bats are a major weakness for them this season and it should show again tonight. Good luck and let’s stay hot! 

Trent’s MLB Betting Record

2021 MLB Season: 11-7 (+1.70 units). A $100 bettor has profited $169.77 this MLB szn.

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