By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
The first place Tribe rolls into Chicago tonight after sweeping the Tigers in three games, moving them to four straight victories. As for our beloved White Sox, they split the two game series with the Royals (one canceled due to rain). If we’re being honest, the Southsiders have not been sharp to start the season. From terrible defense to leaving men on base to blowing saves – they’re not playing like the World Series contender they’re supposed to be. But tonight is a new opportunity as they open up a four-game set with the visiting Indians. This game features Triston McKenzie throwing for Cleveland while Carlos Rodon will make his second start for Chicago. Let’s get into the nitty gritty and our best bet for tonight!
Money Line: CLE (+119) | CWS (-124)
Run Line: CLE +1.5 (-164) | CWS -1.5 (+144)
Total: 8.5 (O +100, U -120)
First Pitch: 7:10 CST | Guaranteed Rate Field | Chicago, IL
Cleveland Indians (5-3)
If you read my 2021 A.L. Central Preview then you know I’m not high on the Indians this season. So I don’t think anyone should be scared by their 5-3 start to the season. Their schedule to start the year hasn’t exactly been very fierce. Four of their wins have come against Detroit and they split a two-game series with the Royals. As for tonight, they’ll look for their sixth win of the season as they send out the young righty, Triston McKenzie. McKenzie is 0-0 to start the season with a 2.45 ERA in one appearance. It was a 3.2 IP outing and he allowed one earned run on two hits but walked four batters. McKenzie is a righty, who in his first outing mostly relied on a 4-seamer (60.3% of the time) but mixed in a curveball (17.2%), slider (15.5%), and changeup (6.9%). In his rookie season, he went to the 4-seamer 53.1% of the time and used the slider 20.2% of the time. As for head to head stats, he faced the White Sox once last season and went 2.0 IP and only allowed a single hit.
Offensively, the Tribe has the 18th best team batting average (.226), 14th OBP (.315) and have scored the 19th most runs (37). Their run differential is +15 and they have the third most homers (14) and sixth best slugging percentage (.440). Franmil Reyes has been the biggest source of offense for Cleveland as he leads the team in basically every category. He’s launched four yabos, has 7 RBI’s, and leads the team in batting average (.333) and slugging percentage (.800).
Chicago White Sox (4-5)
Tony La Russa will turn to Carlos Rodon tonight to try and get the White Sox back in the win column. I still need to see way more out of Rodon to be convinced that he’s going to be a mainstay in the rotation. But in his defense, he looked solid in his season debut against the Mariners. The team won 6-0 in that game and Rodon went 5.0 IP and fanned nine. He allowed five baserunners on two hits and three walks. The lefty has the same pitch arsenal as McKenzie but relies mostly on the fastball and slider.
The offense was only able to muster up three runs yesterday and they fell victim to the MLB’s worst rule of all time – starting the 10th inning with a runner on second base. No doubt, the single dumbest thing in the game of baseball today. Why the hell would you not want to watch free baseball? Why would you want to shorten the game? Anyways, the sticks weren’t great as they could only notch one run off of Mike Minor. It wasn’t until 8th inning when TLR pinch hit Adam Eaton and he smoked a two-run homer to regain the lead. Overall on the year, the bats have been pretty solid despite missing Tim Anderson and having a couple of guys starting slow. They’re 10th in batting average (.242), third in OBP (.354), and sixth in runs scored (51).
Final Analysis & Best Bet
It’s been a terrible start to the betting season for me. I’m 5-6 out of the gate and I’ve been playing with different unit sizes – which I don’t recommend if you’re trying to practice proper bankroll management. I made a couple of 1.5 unit plays and of course those were the ones we lost. But there’s a lot of baseball to be played this season so we’ll definitely bounce back.
As for tonight, I’ll be playing the White Sox ML (-124) for 1.5 units. I swear I’m not trying to be a Sox homer, but I do feel that the Southsiders are the better team in most aspects of the game. Carlos Rodon is coming off of a really nice outing and he’s had the Indians’ number over the years. The current roster slashes .191/.309/.223 off of the lefty over 67 AB’s. Jose Ramirez is the only guy who has success as he’s 10-34 (.294) with four doubles and a triple. This is Triston McKenzie’s first start of the season so I’m questioning how long Terry Francona will let him work. And their bullpen isn’t necessarily overpowering so I would project the Sox to put up at least four runs tonight. And that should be enough to get it done with Rodon’s current form and the bullpen that La Russa has at his disposal. I’ll also be taking the over on 5.5 strikeouts for Carlos Rodon at +100 for a unit. Out of the 67 at-bats that he’s faced this Cleveland roster, 20 of them have ended with a strikeout. And it may be one of the smallest sample sizes available, but Rodon is in the ninth percentile of K% (40.9) and is coming off of an outing where he got 19 swing-and-misses on 95 pitches. Good luck tonight and let’s get back in the win column!
Trent’s MLB Betting Record
2021 MLB Season: 5-6 (-3.22 units). A $100 bettor has lost $321.55 this MLB szn.