White Sox vs. Marlins Free MLB Picks: Miami To Avoid Sweep With Koehler

Tom Koehler

Sunday, August 14, 2016 2:37 PM GMT

The White Sox will send their ace Chris Sale to the hill in order to complete a three-game sweep of their hosts, the Miami Marlins. Let's review the MLB odds and determine which side to back in our MLB picks this afternoon.

Swinger's MLB Record: 61-36, +23.29 units
When last I dipped my toe in the gambling waters of Major League Baseball it was Thursday evening and I was fresh off a desperately needed win with the Washington Nationals over the Cleveland Indians the night before. I was gunning for two straight wins, which seems like a modest proposal, yet getting a cover in my MLB picks over the past three weeks has been as hard to come by as a fat guy in the produce aisle. Nevertheless, I laid the lumber with Jon Lester and the Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals and scored back-to-back cashes with a 4-3 Chicago victory. Imagine that, two straight covers!

After a two-day sabbatical I am back and ready to peruse the MLB odds, as well as the matchups, in this afternoon's game between the White Sox and the Marlins. Let's go for the trifecta here as the White Sox try to do the same with a series sweep in Miami.

Sale for the Sweep
Chris Sale (14-5, 3.16, 1.03) is winless in his last five starts and will be making his first career appearance against the Marlins this afternoon. That's not to say Sale has been pitching poorly as he has thrown four consecutive quality starts, all on the road, but is 0-3 over his last five appearances due to lack of run support.

In his last outing, Sale tossed seven full innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and left the game with a 4-3 lead over the Royals. However, Kansas City managed a run in the bottom of the ninth to knot the game at four, which only prolonged things and denied Sale the win as the Royals ultimately dropped a 7-5 decision to the White Sox. Sale has 150 strikeouts on the season, averaging almost one K per inning and has a league leading four complete games to his credit.

Betting Analysis
It's mighty hard to bet against Chris Sale. As a matter of fact when I see a pitcher of his caliber, aka elite, there are only a few things that will deter me from hammering them. Of course, if the price is simply way out of whack I will back off and even try to find a reason to back the huge underdog if there is enough value in the wager. The quality of opponent and opposing pitcher can also be a pretty good reason to pass or bet against a pitcher like Chris Sale but it's never easy to bet against one of the best in the business. Let's see which way the wind is blowing in this matchup.

The Marlins were originally slated to start an ace of their own in today's game, Jose Fernandez. However, they are being supremely careful with his pitch count and innings this season after last year's debilitating elbow injury and subsequent surgery. Therefore, the nod goes to four-year veteran Tom Koehler (9-8, 3.83, 1.40) who has been dazzling in his last four performances with a 3-0 record and a 0.67 ERA. Koehler faced the White Sox just once in his career and that was back in 2013 when he allowed three runs, on six hits in a 4-3 loss in Chicago.

Due to the fact that the Marlins have a top five team batting average and on-base percentage compared to the anemic White Sox lineup, I am siding with the white hot Koehler to keep steamrolling over a lackluster Chicago offense that ranks 18th in batting average and is in the bottom third of the league in run production (25th), on base percentage (21st) and slugging percentage (25th). In addition, the Marlins are at home and in contention for a wild card spot while the White Sox are merely playing out the string, barring some miracle resurgence. As if I need any more reasons to back the Marlins, the White Sox are 26-34 on the road (-6.1 units) and Miami is getting +115 back as a home dog.

I am backing the Marlins for the reasons stated above and the fact that while Chris Sale is pitching well, compared to the average MLB pitcher, he has not been his Chris Sale self. But caveat emptor; Miami's Giancarlo Stanton may not play today after sustaining a groin pull on the last play of yesterday's game. Taking his bat out of this Florida lineup is a blow but one I will have to live with as the Marlins look like too live a dog to pass up here.

MLB Pick: Marlins +128
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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