Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox
First pitch: 5:10 p.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Chris Sale (0-5, 6.30 ERA) vs. Reynaldo Lopez (2-3, 6.03 ERA)
Among all the underachievers throughout the first-month-and-change of the season, Sale has arguably stood out the most, shockingly carrying a winless record through his first six starts alongside a very uncharacteristic 6.30 ERA.
Fortunately, the perennial American League Cy Young award candidate has shown signs of finally settling in based on his most recent work. Sale has held consecutive opponents to two earned runs or fewer in back-to-back starts for the first time this year, and most strikingly, he’s punched out 18 batters compared to only five walks within that span (12 innings).
One reason Sale’s been racking up the K’s again is related to an uptick in velocity from the onset of the campaign. After going a season-high seven strong against Tampa Bay, he’ll be in position to keep it going when he takes on his old club this evening.
During his seven years on the South Side, Sale typically excelled at home. For his career, he’s 43-24 at U.S. Cellular Field to go with a 3.06 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Sale has also held opponents to just a .219 batting average in that ballpark.
Additionally, in Sale’s one meeting with his ex-mates a year ago, the veteran southpaw limited Chicago to only run in eight innings while striking out 10.
Tonight’s counterpart, Lopez, is also coming off some stellar service on the mound in his most recent turns in the rotation.
His last one, in fact, was probably his best one yet in his four seasons in the big leagues, as Lopez recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts in six sharp innings against the Tigers. The performance also marked Lopez’s third straight qualify start, meaning he’s clearly trending back up following a troubling start to 2019.
If you were keeping up with me last year, you know I’m a believer in Lopez ultimately solidifying himself as a regularly effective starter. He’s certainly shown that potential before in stretches, like the superb 1.09 ERA and 0.85 WHIP he posted in five September starts to close out last year.
I think Lopez can at least be game here as a result, and with Sale coming through as expected in this spot opposing his old team, the scoring figures to remain low. I’d just wait a bit before putting my bet in on the under, with the juice indicating it could inflate a half-run. Play: UNDER 8/8.5
Yesterday’s Result: Rockies-Brewers Under 8.5 (loss)
Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 17-17-1, -2.15 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
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