Close Pitching Matchup Makes White Sox Our MLB Pick vs. Royals

Thursday, May 26, 2016 4:58 PM GMT

There could be an overlay on Thursday night with the pitch-limited Danny Duffy of the Royals set as such a big favorite, making the White Sox the value MLB pick at a nice price.

 

MLB Record: 29-27-1, +5.75

There appears to be excellent underdog value Thursday night inside the American League Central when right-hander Miguel Gonzalez and the first place Chicago White Sox (27-21, 14-9 away) pay a visit to southpaw Danny Duffy and the defending World Champion Kansas City Royals (24-22, 13-7 home) in the first game of a weekend four-game series from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:15 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Kansas City.

The posted money line at Heritage Sports has Chicago as a decided underdog for this contest at current MLB odds of +143.

White Sox Much Improved
My, what a difference a year makes! The White Sox barely avoided the American League Central basement when they finished 76-86 last season, but here they are leading the division this year, thanks largely to excellent starting pitching that has seen those starters produce 29 Quality Starts out of 48 games. The news is not all good though as Chicago enters this game on a three-game losing streak after losing the last three contests to the Cleveland Indians at home.

Meanwhile the defending champion Royals have faced some adversity this year for the first time in about three years, and they just recently went over the .500 mark by being the winning MLB pick in four of their last six games. However, they do come off of a loss to the team with the worst record in the American League in the 12-34 Minnesota Twins yesterday, and unlike the White Sox the Kansas City starters have struggled with just 16 Quality Starts all year.

Duffy Just Re-Entered Rotation
Duffy just recently re-entered the Royals' rotation when both Chris Young and Kris Medlin went on the disabled list, but this is a guy that was relegated to the bullpen last September and would probably still be there if not for the injuries. Furthermore, Duffy had been on a pitch count after making 16 short relief appearances this year, and the latest word is that his pitch count tonight is 80.

Sure he has looked good in his two short starts while tossing a total of 7.1 scoreless innings and allowing five hits with eight strikeouts vs. two walks, but Duffy has never been anything special with a career 4.11 FIP and a worse 4.48 xFIP, rendering his good career 3.71 ERA misleading, and he does not have great command numbers with 7.32 strikeouts vs. 3.76 walks lifetime.

Thus, do not expect the current ratio of 10.30 strikeouts vs. 2.49 walks this year to hold true as his innings start to pile up.

Gonzalez Comes off His Best Outing with Chicago
Gonzalez was once a highly touted prospect when he first came up with the Baltimore Orioles and he even pitched well his first two years in the Major Leagues. Everything went straight downhill from there though, to the point where the Orioles outright released him toward the tail end of spring training this year.

Thus, the White Sox took a flyer on him and things looked bleak when he was touched up for five earned runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings in his Chicago debut at Toronto on April 25th. However he has gotten better with each passing start since then while allowing three runs or less in his last three outings, and he comes off of a Quality Start vs. these Royals last Saturday where he allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and not a single walk!

That marked the fifth time in six career starts vs. Kansas City that Gonzalez has allowed three runs or less.

Should Have Saved Some Runs?
Finally, the Royals did bust out offensively in their three games in Minnesota, winning the first two games 10-4 and 7-4 and then losing the finale 7-5. Still, those onslaughts came vs. the poor pitching staff of a last-place team, and consider the Royals are only 3-7 in their last 10 games after scoring five runs or more in their previous game.

With Duffy not fully stretched out yet and Gonzalez improving with every start, let us go for the good underdog value with the Chicago White Sox when they visit the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.

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MLB Pick: White Sox +145
Best Line Offered: at YouWager