By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
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Money Line: CWS +101 | BOS -109
Run Line: CWS -1.5 (+154) | BOS +1.5 (-184)
Total: 7 (O -115, U -105)
First Pitch: 12:10 CDT | Fenway Park | Boston, MA
Pitching Matchup: Keuchel (0-0, 6.43 ERA) vs. Tanner Houck (0-1, 3.00 ERA)
Game one of the series went to the Red Sox by a final score of 7-4. A late surge by Boston’s offense against Jose Ruiz in the 8th was enough to push the Red Sox to their 10th win in 11 tries. But Chicago will look to get back in the win column on Sunday and can actually do so twice. This is the preview for the first game of the double header so let’s dive into the matchup and make sure we have some action for this matinee thriller! P.S.: If you didn’t remember, double headers are only seven innings.
Chicago White Sox (6-8)
Dallas Keuchel will take the ball for the Southsiders as they look to break the two-game skid. Keuchel made an impromptu start on Monday after Carlos Rodon wasn’t able to go with health issues. That start was against the Indians and he went 5.0 innings allowing 3 earned runs on a 68 pitch effort. His ERA (6.43) is a bit inflated to start the year and he has yet to make it past 5.0 innings pitched. He’ll look to break that streak against one of the best hitting teams in the league. Dallas relies mostly on his sinkerball (39.1%) to induce soft contact and ground balls but also throws a changeup (29.1%), cutter (20%), and slider (9.1%).
As for the bats, it’s been an interesting season. The Southsiders rank 16th in team batting average (.233), 6th in runs scored (69), and 22nd in homers (13). Yoan Moncada made a 407 foot out yesterday that would’ve been a home run (and grandslam in this case) in 28 other stadiums. And Jose Abreu roped a ball off of the green monster that you’ve been out at any place without a 37 foot wall in left. So, I mean, don’t get down White Sox fans. Yesterday’s game could’ve been a lot different if a couple of things fell into place. And that’s truly the story of the young season. You can basically point to most of the losses and identify 1-2 things that didn’t go their way (or they made an unforced error) and that’s the difference. If they can tighten it up, they will be 100% fine. Lot of ball left in 2021.
Boston Red Sox (10-4)
Tanner Houck will get the nod this afternoon as the Red Sox look for their second win of the series. Houck is right-hander out of Collinsville, Illinois and he’s made two appearances this season. His first outing was a start against Baltimore where he went 5.0 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and a free pass. More recently, he worked a scoreless inning against the Rays on April 6th allowing an unearned run and punching out two hitters. And just for clarification, this is more of a “spot start” for Houck as he’s being called up from the alternate site for today’s doubleheader. Out of the 100 pitches he’s thrown this season, 42 of them have been sliders, 37 have been 4-seam fastballs, 18 have been sinkers, and 3 have been split fingers.
As I mentioned, the Red Sox are one of the best offenses in the league. They’re 2nd in team batting average (.273), 3rd in runs (82), and 11th in longballs (16). Boston collected 13 hits in Saturday’s win with Kike Hernandez going 4-5. Xander Bogaerts also went 4-5 with two RBI’s. Like I said in yesterday’s preview, this is a really solid lineup. J.D. Martinez is really the man you want to watch out for. Although he only went 1-4 yesterday, we saw what he’s capable of in the 8th inning. He worked an eight-pitch AB and drew a bases-loaded walk to extend Boston’s lead to 5-3. He’s that commanding of a hitter and that’s just one super simple example of why he’s found such longevity in the MLB.
Final Analysis & Best Bet
For my best bet this afternoon, I’ll be taking the White Sox money line (+101) for a unit! Dallas Keuchel hasn’t been the overwhelming number-two that we expected to start the season, but, he’s a very crafty lefty and to be honest, poor defense led to his early departures on multiple occasions this year. Additionally, the Red Sox rank 22nd in the league against LHP in wOBA at .309. And they’re 19th in BABIP .288 over 167 AB’s this season against lefties.
Not too mention, this is just good value, in my opinion. The White Sox aren’t the 6-8 team that their record reflects, and while the Red Sox are hot, I’ll take the guy that finished 5th in Cy Young voting in 2020 over the AAA callup. I like the White Sox bats to break out today against the 24-year-old righty. And as a general philosophy, you always at least want to split the doubleheader. I believe with Cora’s bullpen usage yesterday and the fact that he moved the more established Martin Perez to start the second game, maybe this isn’t the game he wants to empty what he has left. If the White Sox can get on top early and get a nice outing from Keuchel, Cora should retreat and look to come back firing in game two. Let’s have a day and make sure to check back to the site for game number two’s analysis & pick (which will be coming in the early afternoon).
Trent’s MLB Betting Record
2021 MLB Season: 8-7 (-1.05 units). A $100 bettor has lost $105.15 this MLB szn.