The White Sox are a troubled team. Should we consider them for MLB picks to come up with a split of this two-game road series in Pittsburgh before they move to Chicago on Wednesday?
The Chicago White Sox Can Win Because...
They are going up against a pitcher whose ERA is going to go up, and it's just a matter of time as to when it will happen.
Charlie Morton is the Pirates' starter in this game. He was a regular part of their rotation last season, and he definitely helped Pittsburgh reach the National League wild card game. However, it's not as though he was the backbone of the staff. Morton was a solid pitcher, but not a spectacular one. He posted a 3.72 ERA for the Pirates. He does not have overwhelming stuff. He figures out how to get enough outs to make his way through a game, but he is not going to punch out a lot of people.
Morton has a 2.05 ERA. That might seem like a brilliant ERA, and it's certainly very good, but you have to realize that it's the product of only four starts. Morton suffered a hip injury just before he was supposed to begin his season, so his debut did not arrive until May 25 against the Miami Marlins. Moreover, he has pitched against four teams that have really struggled at the plate this year: the Marlins, the San Diego Padres, the Atlanta Braves, and the Milwaukee Brewers. You don't want to assign too much value to Morton's 2.05 ERA. You also know that his ERA is almost certain to rise above three runs, and very probably 3.50, before the season ends. There is going to be some regression here, and the White Sox -- having been shut out on Monday night in Pittsburgh -- are going to be highly motivated to correct their ways and repair their level of hitting.
The other thing these MLB odds underdogs tonight should be encouraged by is the fact that their starting pitcher, Jose Quintana, has made improvements over the past few starts. Quintana had an ERA of over five runs five weeks ago, but he's steadily worked it down to exactly four runs with some solid outings in his past three starts. He gave up one run in 6 1/3 innings on May 30 against Houston. He gave up three runs in seven innings on June 5 against Detroit. He went seven innings and gave up one run on June 10 against the Astros. He's in a groove right now, and that should matter.
The Pittsburgh Pirates Can Win Because...
They are playing a team that is just not in a good frame of mind right now.
You have to realize this about the White Sox: They lost a very tough game on Sunday against Tampa Bay. Their ace, Chris Sale, pitched six shutout innings, but they scored only one run and got beaten on a two-run homer Sale gave up in the seventh. That's a very tough loss, one which carried over to Monday, when they didn't show up and got bombed, 11-0. The White Sox had swept the Houston Astros last week and thought they were on a distinct upward swing, but the past weekend against Tampa Bay really took the starch out of this team, and with Charlie Morton pitching well -- he threw a shutout in 7 1/3 innings in his most recent start on June 10 against Milwaukee -- you don't need to overthink this betting play.
The White Sox don’t score much for Quintana, totaling just 10 runs in his last five outings. Factor in that Morton is pitching well and we have the making of a low-scoring game. Go under with your MLB picks here.
MLB Pick: Under at The Greek