By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
It’s finally here! Strap it in as our beloved White Sox embark on a new campaign and the expectations couldn’t be higher. Their first stop of the year is in Anaheim where they’ll take on Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels. And hopefully you’re well rested as the boys will be under the lights which means a late night for us. Let’s get right into each team and I’ll finish up with my best bets for the night cap.
Money Line: CWS -113 | LAA +103
Run Line: CWS -1.5 (+140) | LAA +1.5 (-160)
Total: 8.5 (O +100, U -120)
First Pitch: 9:05 CST | Angel Stadium of Anaheim | Anaheim, CA
Chicago White Sox (0-0)
Lucas Giolito gets the nod tonight and according to MLB.com, he’s the first right hander to make consecutive starts for the South siders since Jaime Navarro back in ‘97-’98. The ace is coming off of a 4-3 year in which he made 12 starts. The biggest highlight of the 2020 season was his no-hitter against the Pirates last August. Giolito went for a 3.48 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and a 3.5 K/BB ratio in the truncated season.
The lineup is coming together nicely and there really aren’t too many apparent weaknesses for Tony La Russa’s ball club. Headlined by Tim Anderson and the reigning A.L. MVP, Jose Abreu, these guys are going to do some damage this year. Of course I could dive into everyone’s stats but we know the potential of these guys. What I want to get to is how Andrew Vaughn will likely be in the fold this season. With Eloy Jimenez pulling a “Vintage Eloy,” except extremely severe this time, Vaughn is going to see a lot of time as DH or in left field. The number three pick in the 2019 draft and 14th ranked MLB prospect is coming off of a spring where he slashed .279/.375/.459 and hit two longballs. The 23-year-old right-handed hitter is going to be a star. There’s no question about whether he’ll be a success or bust. The only question is how great can he be. I’m fired up to see him in the lineup tonight and see what he can do!
Los Angeles Angels (0-0)
Dylan Bundy will take the mound to open up the brand new season for the Halos. The righty made 11 starts last year and posted a 3.29 ERA to go along with a 1.04 WHIP. He was 6-3 in his starts and had a K/BB ratio of 4.2 over 65.2 IP. Bundy is a solid pitcher but I don’t think I’d consider him your stereotypical ace. In my opinion, he seems to be in this role mainly because the Angels lack pitching depth. Dylan Bundy sits about 93 mph on his fastball and is coming off his final Spring Training outing where he gave up five runs over 5.2 IP (85 pitches) against the Rockies.
The hitting is the part that should worry opposing teams the most. The top four features David Fletcher, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Anthony Rendon (a.k.a Tony Two Bags). That’s a scary site. And after that, you have some veterans in Justin Upton and Albert Pujols who can still do some damage. Jose Iglesias, Max Stassi, and Dexter Fowler should round out the lineup but that top four-six is the biggest threat if Lucas Giolito isn’t on his A-game tonight.
Final Analysis & Best Bet
I’m going to lock in the White Sox money line (-113) in this one for a unit. The edge here is clearly in the pitching matchup where Chicago sends Lucas Giolito to the bump. Giolito has faced the Angels twice in 2019, one of those games being that crazy game that Bill Walton announced. Over the two starts, he went 13.0 innings and picked up a win and a no decision. He allowed four earned runs and punched out 17 over the two starts. Trout, Ohtani, and Fowler have all homered off of him and the current roster has slashed .257/.356/.514 against the righty. I think with a full offseason and spring of working with Ethan Katz, the new pitching coach, we’re going to see Lucas Giolito continue to develop and take another step forward.
We could be in for a slug fest tonight. Both of these lineups will probably finish top 10 this season in runs scored but like I said, there is a big edge with the Sox pitching staff. Even if Giolito can only go 5.0-ish innings, La Russa can turn it over to the bullpen that’s absolutely stacked. Take the Sox to get the job done in the opener and check out my second bet for tonight below.
Boosted Odds At PointsBet
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Trent’s MLB Betting Record
2021 MLB Season: 0-0 (+0.00 units). A $100 bettor has profited $0.00 this MLB szn.