Chicago White Sox @ Houston Astros, 4:07 first pitch
Pitching Probable’s: Lynn (Chi) vs. McCullers (H)
The Chicago White Sox will take a trip down to Houston tonight and kick off the AL Division Series against the Astros. Each team is coming off of successful regular season campaigns with riveting story lines. The Sox are playing only their second October games since 2008 and the ‘Stros are continuing their revenge campaign against the “hater’s”. As always feel free to comment on social and let @SportsShiftMedia know what your thoughts are.
The battle of the Lance’s will be underway tonight as Chicago sends Lance Lynn to the mound to oppose the home-town crowds Lance McCullers. Lynn posted a career best 2.69 ERA over 28 outings to go with a fantastic 1.07 WHIP. This renaissance season for him and the White Sox pitching staff – bullpen included – largely contributed to their season success. The offense has done enough over the last month (averaging 3.9 runs per game since September 7th) to warrant solid hope for an exciting series. The always underrated Tim Anderson, former MVP Jose Abreu, and young guns Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez will anchor the lineup.
The Astros will send Lance McCullers and his 3.16 ERA/1.22 WHIP to the bump. McCullers has flashed + stuff at times but does not yet have the career numbers to justify the title of staff “ace”. The man with 7 career Postseason starts will have his chance tonight however to throw his hat into that ring. A wonderful 1.07 WHIP and 53 SOs over 46.2 IP in the Postseason should give him an edge over a Sox lineup that has little experience in October games. Houston’s lineup boasts what might very well be their trump card. Led by veterans Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman with young stars in the making Yordan Alarez and Kyle Tucker, these boys can flat out rake. They posted an absurd team OPS+ of 113 and OPS of .783 with five everyday players posting an over .800 OPS. In total they scored 863 runs in the regular season with 221 homeruns.
FanDuel: Astros -136, White Sox +116
The Astros sit as the favorites largely because of their offense and home field advantage. While Lynn has had the better season numbers than McCullers, the Houston offense is downright nasty. We don’t love either of the covers or outrights pregame as both starting pitchers have been prone to stinkers in their careers. However, if the White Sox can hand a lead over to the that world beater of a bullpen, lay something on them outright. On the flip side, if the Astros jump out to virtually any early lead hammer them to cover.
Advice: The White Sox bullpen is an absolute juggernaut, but with as powerful as the Astros lineup is, the Sox should at no point turn this into a blowout, meaning the outright odds shouldn’t creep so high that it isn’t worth a look. Should the White Sox hand a lead to the pen the window around the 6th or 7th inning to grab them as outright winners will be at decent odds. If the Astros, however, jump to a lead in the first three innings, hammer whatever the cover is.
None of the homerun odds jump out as worth the cash to us, but Altuve has posted a ridiculous .375 average with five homeruns, 11 RBIs and scorching 1.229 OPS over 13 playoff games. Michael Brantley, Jose Abrue and Tim Anderson are also solid choices for covering a hit.
Advice: A four-leg parlay for Tim Anderson, Michael Brantley and Jose Abreu to record a hit and Jose Altuve to record two+ hits jump the odds to around +589. This is worth a sprinkle. Each posted wonderful seasons and neither starting pitcher blows enough smoke to give any credence towards a flat out shut down outing.
The first half total runs over/under is 3.5. With both teams starters prone to a few hits, and both offenses able to throw up some runs. We like the over.
Advice: Hammer the over. It is sitting at -142 and our gut feeling is that it is a must have. It should hedge your funds in the event the parlay does not hit but open the door for a big payout should things swing the way we think it will.
Take that parlay and hedge it with the first half over. Take the White Sox outright if the bullpen can enter with a lead.
Game one should give us a better idea of where these two teams heads are for the series as well as provide the baseball world with a fantastic chance at seeing new October face from the Southside pinned against the sports current top-villain.