Opening Week: Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels: Preview, Prediction, & Best Bet – 4/2/2021

By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)

It was a blast to have baseball back last night regardless of the outcome of the game. The Angels took the first of the four game set but the White Sox will look to bounce back tonight as they send Dallas Keuchel to the bump. As for last night’s game, the final score ended up 4-3 in favor of the Halos thanks to a late game rally from the dangerous top of the lineup. But it was a very avoidable situation. It all started with a David Fletcher infield single that tipped off of Aaron Bummer’s glove and should’ve been an out. Then Shohei Ohtani grounded a ball to second and Nick Madrigal made an error by pulling Tim Anderson off the bag at second attempting to get the force out. Mike Trout stepped up and delivered an RBI single after a passed ball let Fletcher get to third. Of course the Angels’ top of the lineup is lethal, but they could’ve easily avoided blowing the 3-2 lead, in my humble opinion. Hate to be the guy criticising players from behind the computer screen, but this is the big leagues so you’d really like to see these guys tighten it up late in the game. Anyways, it’s a new day so let’s get into the preview and my best bet for tonight!

Money Line: CWS +105 | LAA -115

Run Line: CWS +1.5 (+105) | LAA -1.5 (+173)

Total: 8.5 (O -116, U -104)

First Pitch: 8:38 CST | Angel Stadium of Anaheim | Anaheim, California

Chicago White Sox (0-1)

As I mentioned, it’ll be Dallas Keuchel getting the nod tonight. The lefty is coming off a fantastic season that saw him post a 6-2 record alongside a 1.99 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Keuchel finished fifth in the Cy Young race in his first season with the Southsiders and he’s looking to build on that great performance in 2020. One of the reasons he’s found so much success in the big leagues is his sinker. This guy is a ground ball machine. According to Baseball Savant, he relies on the sinker 32.3% of the time while he uses the cutter 30.9% and the changeup 27.9%. He’s just the guy that you want on the mound against a team with so much power. His career groundball rate is 58.2% so hopefully he can get these guys to roll over the low stuff. The only issue might be Mike Trout considering he loves to hit balls around the knees. 

Offensively, I’d love to see Andrew Vaughn get the nod tonight. I mentioned yesterday in my preview how excited I was to see him make his debut. Unfortunately, Tony LaRussa gave Zack Collins the DH-ing responsibilities which I think was a bonehead move. I don’t know if I can stomach another 0-4 night at the dish from Collins. After last night, he now has a career batting average of just .160. Aside from that, the offense ran into Dylan Bundy last night who is a very serviceable pitcher. Shout out to Adam Eaton, who picked up his first homerun of the season – a two run blast to right field. That was his first since returning to Chicago but 30th in a Sox uniform. 

Los Angeles Angels (1-0)

The Halos showed resilience last night, battling back on multiple occasions and eventually getting the win. They’ll look to move to 2-0 tonight as Joe Maddon sends Andrew Heaney to the bump. Heaney is coming off of a season that saw him go 4-3 and post a 4.46 ERA. His WHIP was 1.23 which is solid but Angels faithful would like to see that number come down if he’s going to be L.A.’s second pitcher. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy has a BABIP at .302 and he walks 2.6 batters per nine innings. He’s a three pitch hurler who relies on the 4-seam fastball 57.8% of the time, the curve at 24.8%, and goes with the changeup 17.8%. He also had a sinker that he didn’t throw in 2020 but used that from 2016-2019. And after diving into this fun reddit thread, his sinker is technically a “copy cat 4-seamer.” I don’t know, check out the thread – it’s pretty interesting. 

As for the sticks, the Halos boast one of the deepest lineups in the league. I mentioned the top guys above, but we even saw Max Stassi getting in on the action last night. Stassi hit a 407 foot bomb off of Lucas Giolito and went 2-3 on the night. It’s almost like you must focus on getting Jose Iglesias, Max Stassi, and Dexter Fowler out every time if you want to be successful. Otherwise you just need to try and limit the damage when Ohtani, Trout, and Tony Two Bags come up to bat. 

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Final Analysis & Best Bet

I’m going back to the well tonight and I’ll be backing the White Sox at +105 for a unit. The White Sox crushed left handed pitching last season and I expect no difference this year. They had the second ranked wOBA against lefties in 2020 at .376 and posted a team BABIP of .319. And while we’re on the topic of facing lefties, the Angels were .320 and .278 in those categories. Overall, these lineups are both stacked so I basically think they’re a wash. Although I do think the Sox facing a lefty is still a dangerous spot for any opposing pitcher. 

I still give the pitching edge to the White Sox as well. Dallas Keuchel is limiting Los Angeles to a slash line of .158/.238/.236 over 149 at bats. Ohtani, Fletcher, and Fowler are a combined 0-10 while Jose Iglesias is 2-10. Trout, Rendon, and Pujols have had the most success with Trout going .326 with two bombs, Rendon at 4-12 with two doubles, and Pujols only at .205 but with three homers and two doubles. Keuchel has owned this lineup for the most part and he’ll be motivated to get Chicago in the win column this year. Plus, don’t forget about that filthy bullpen that Tony La Russa has at his disposal. Let’s keep running it up!

Trent’s MLB Betting Record

2021 MLB Season: 1-1 (-0.80 units). A $100 bettor is down $80 this MLB szn.

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