MLB Odds: Back White Sox At Home In Series Finale Vs. Royals

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, May 21, 2016 4:00 PM UTC

Saturday, May. 21, 2016 4:00 PM UTC

The Royals are defending AL Central champions, but they are currently chasing the first-place White Sox in the division. The Sox are -110 on MLB odds.

What You Need To Know
While the White Sox are surprise leaders of the division, although not hugely so after making offseason trades for second baseman Brett Lawrie and third baseman Todd Frazier this offseason, General Manager Rick Hahn isn't about to stand pat, especially with the team scuffling a bit of late. Hahn knows the window for this team is perhaps only a couple of years with the very team-friendly contracts of ace pitcher Chris Sale and Jose Abreu. Soon, they will be available to hit the free-agent market and probably out of the White Sox's range. So the team doesn't want to waste the low-priced (again, relatively speaking) primes of Sale, who is the leading AL Cy Young candidate this season, fellow lefty starter Jose Quintana and Abreu.

This week, Hahn said he's ready to make a big trade right now to improve his team. One problem: there are really only a few true sellers at the moment (Braves, Reds, Padres) because it's too early in the season for other GMs to give up on their teams and start trading away players -- thus sending a message to fans that it's time to look toward 2017 already. So while Hahn is talking to other GMs, nothing likely will happen for a while. Plus prices will be higher on players right now than in two months. The White Sox definitely could use another starting pitcher as well as a left-handed bat (after Adam LaRoche's sudden spring retirement) and perhaps a bullpen arm. One name you often hear mentioned as a White Sox target: Reds outfielder Jay Bruce. Oakland's Josh Reddick also is a name, but he broke his thumb on Thursday and could miss eight weeks. The White Sox are -105 on MLB odds to win the division.

The Royals are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball and could use an upgrade at second base and another starting pitcher. They could call Atlanta (Julio Teheran?) for an arm. But the offense got one of its key players back Saturday in third baseman Mike Moustakas as he was activated off the disabled list. He had been out since May 4 with a broken thumb so that's a quick recovery. It wasn't a major break, unlike Reddick's. Kansas City is +280 on MLB picks to win the Central.


Probable Pitchers
It's two young guys with great stuff but occasional bouts of wildness in Sunday's finale. For the Royals, it's 24-year-old right-hander Yordano Ventura (4-2, 4.85). He last pitched Tuesday at home vs. Boston and got the win despite allowing four runs and seven hits over 5.2 innings. A three-run homer to Travis Shaw ruined his shot at a quality start. Ventura did only walk one, which was a season low. He leads the American League with 29 walks allowed. The Royals are 4-0 in Ventura's past four on  MLB odds on four days of rest.

Last year, Ventura faced the White Sox twice and was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA. He allowed three runs and nine hits in 13 innings with 10 strikeouts and two walks. Abreu is 2-for-7 career off him with a double, homer and two RBIs. Adam Eaton is 4-for-14 with two doubles and an RBI. Melky Cabrera is 2-for-8 with a double. Avisail Garcia is 0-for-12 with four strikeouts. Perhaps he gets the day off.

For Chicago, it's 23-year-old lefty Carlos Rodon (1-4, 4.73). Like Ventura, he can dominate or be hit around. The White Sox have lost his past four, but Rodon had a quality start Tuesday against Houston in a no-decision, allowing two earned runs and six hits over six innings. He struck out seven and walked one. The Astros hit two homers off Rodon and he has allowed eight this season in eight starts. Rodon has allowed 50 hits and 17 walks in 45.2 innings, for a not-good WHIP of 1.47. The Sox are 5-1 in his past six on MLB picks vs. teams in the AL Central. Rodon didn't face the Royals last year as a rookie.

White Sox and 'over.' It's usually an advantage when a team hasn't seen a pitcher, as will be the case here for Rodon. Plus Ventura is 1-2 with a 6.30 ERA on the road this season. The 'over' is 5-1 in Ventura's past six vs. Chicago.

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Free MLB Pick:  White Sox -110 & Over 8½ +105
Best Line Offered:  at BetOnline

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