Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics ALWC Game 1
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 – 03:00 PM EDT at Oakland Coliseum
- White Sox: Lucas Giolito (4-3 3.48 ERA)
- Athletics: Jesus Luzardo (3-2 4.12 ERA)
The playoffs have arrived. For the first time ever, the MLB will have a 16-team playoff that kind of reminds us of March Madness in the Sweet 16. Baseball is going to be on every minute during the Wild Card series and all baseball junkies are ecstatic.
Lucas Giolito will take the mound for the White Sox to start a three-game series against the Athletics. This is a best-of-three series, meaning a team must win two games to advance to the next round.
The White Sox are slight underdogs to win the series but have quickly become favorites in this game after starting this game as underdogs too.
Giolito is 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA on the season. He’s got a high strikeout rate but also walks 3.48 batters per nine innings. This is a guy that, under pressure, has succeeded this year. He even had a no-hitter this season. Think about how much pressure he felt in that situation.
Giolito finished the season allowing multiple runs in five straight games. In September, he allowed 11 runs in 23.2 innings off 16 hits and 10 walks. There’s no denying that he wasn’t the best in September but he showed us a glimpse of what he could be in August.
Batters are hitting just .184 against Giolito on the season. He’s struck out 97 and walked 28 along with allowing eight home runs. Neither righties or lefties have found the best way to hit Giolito as righties have a .190 average while lefties have a .180 average. He just needs to limit walks and home runs. During the day, he had an ERA of 3 in two starts and went an average of six innings in those starts after allowing four earned runs.
Giolito will likely allow two runs in six innings against the Athletics, give or take.
The White Sox will need to score more than that to win this game. They’ll face left-handed pitcher, Jesus Luzardo who was 3-2 on the season with a 4.12 ERA. His FIP was even higher at 4.19. Luzardo didn’t allow many walks and had a solid strikeout rate but had a batting average of balls in play of .306 on the year.
Against lefties this season, the White Sox have a .296 average and 25 home runs, which leads all teams in the playoffs against lefties. The team also has a .396 weighted opponent batting average against lefties and a batting average of balls in play at .327. This is because the heart of the White Sox order is right-handed hitters.
Luzardo has allowed eight home runs to righties this season with just one against lefties. His on-base percentage increases to .325 against righties as well and he’s walked 15 batters to just two lefties this season.
In September, Luzardo has a 4.62 ERA, which was his worst month of the season. He allowed a batting average of .250 and in the last couple of starts has allowed a batting average of .273. One thing that Luzardo has going for him are his home stats. In six starts and eight games, he’s limited teams to a .215 batting average and has a 2.40 ERA. The Athletics are home but he’s never faced this White Sox team.
At home, he’s faced the Giants, Astros twice, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Rockies, and Angels. Only the Astros made the playoffs from that list of teams he’s played at home. Don’t be fooled. He’s literally faced non-playoff teams and an Astros team that really hasn’t excelled offensively this season.
On the road, Luzardo has an 8.15 ERA. Do you want to know why? Because he just faced the Dodgers offense that scored three runs on three hits and three walks in three innings.
The White Sox are a premier hitting team, especially against left-handed pitching. The Athletics have a solid bullpen this season but even in Luzardo’s last start, he allowed three runs in three innings. Then the Dodgers added two more and scored five. All that’s needed in this one is four runs from the White Sox.
If the White Sox can come out hot against Luzardo, a team total number of 3.5 seems extremely low, especially knowing they’re on the road and guaranteed nine innings of at-bats.
Free MLB Pick: White Sox Over 3.5 TT (-121) at BetOnline (Visit our BetOnline Review)