It's getaway day in Chicago where the White Sox and Indians are even in their MLB odds series, and windy conditions could be a huge factor in their afternoon contest at The Cell.
Indians vs. White Sox Series Game 3
By: Willie Bee
By the time Chicago White Sox fans got their first look at top pitching prospect Carlos Rodon, the Cleveland Indians already had a lead they would not relinquish. The Tribe tacked on a couple more runs just for good measure anyway, spoiling the White Sox rookie's MLB debut and evening the series with a 6-2 triumph.
They'll decide things with a matinee on the South Side, first pitch set for a little past 2 PM (ET) under some blustery conditions. Cleveland will have ace Corey Kluber on the hill while Chicago counters with Jeff Samardzija. Early action on the Indians have driven them up to around $1.25 on the baseball betting board, the game total sitting at 7½ at most sports books monitored by SBR's live MLB odds.
Kluber Still In Search Of First Win In '15
There has been nothing wrong with the effort Indians manager Terry Francona has gotten from his ace so far. Kluber has been consistent in each of his three starts to date, pitching to a 2.49 ERA and whiffing 25 in under 22 innings. The end result for the 2015 AL Cy Young winner has been three Cleveland losses, however, his offense failing him in defeats at Houston and Minnesota while the bullpen let him down in a setback to Detroit.
Five assignments against the ChiSox last year resulted in a 2-3 Indians record while Kluber fashioned a fine 2.45 ERA. Two of the three losses came in Chicago where the Tribe has split Kluber's four career assignments (3.15 ERA).
Samardzija is also looking for his first win of 2015, and first with the White Sox thought they did emerge victorious in one of his three starts. The former Notre Dame standout is coming off an outstanding performance in Detroit last Friday, eight innings of 1-run baseball, only to earn a no-decision in the Tigers' 2-1 walk-off win in the ninth. Wednesday will be his career cherry against the Indians, the fourth AL Central foe Samardzija has taken on this season.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Dan Bellino is tasked with calling balls and strikes in the rubber game, just his second plate assignment of 2015 with the first pushing a 7 run mark last week in the series finale between the Phillies and Mets. The Chicago native worked three Pale Hose home games a year ago, two of them going 'over' the scoreboard hurdles.
It's not going to be a very pleasant day for baseball in the Windy City, which promises to live up to its name. There isn't any rain to threaten the clash, but cloudy skies and temps in the mid-to-upper 40s are coupled with a WNW blow of about 20 mph (out to left, left-center).
We saw similar conditions Tuesday night when the clubs combined for three homers. I know we have a couple of good hurlers out there today, but I'm riding the lineups with my MLB picks on the 'over' at an even price in the series finale.
MLB Pick: Indians-White Sox Over 7.5
Indians vs. White Sox Series Game 2
By: Willie Bee
For eight innings Monday night, the Chicago White Sox couldn't buy a hit vs. Cleveland Indians pitchers. Held to four hits up until then, Pale Hose batters broke out in the ninth with six hits, Melky Cabrera's RBI single driving home the fourth run in the rally for a 4-3 Chicago victory.
The loss dropped the slumping Tribe into the AL Central cellar, but the MLB odds like Cleveland's chances to even the series Tuesday evening (8:10 PM ET). Carlos Carrasco gets the call for the Indians who are favorites in the MLB odds range of -135 to -140. Chicago counters with Hector Noesi, an 8 run total down half a tick since the opener.
Carrasco Climbs Hill For 1st Time Since Being Hit By Liner
It was a scary thing to see last Tuesday in Cleveland where Carrasco was nailed by a line drive off Cabrera's bat. The Venezuelan did managed to get just the fingertips of his glove on the ball before it deflected into his face, but the good news is it was just a contusion instead of something much worse.
His regular turn would've been in Monday's opener, but Indians manager Terry Francona gave Carrasco an extra day off. He ended up taking a hard-luck loss in that game against the White Sox after facing just two batters, both of who eventually scored in Chicago's 4-1 win. Carrasco split his two assignments in Chicago last year, a solid performance in August after a rough one earlier in April.
Noesi is taking the mound for the first time in 11 days, recent off days allowing Chicago skipper to skip him twice since his season debut on April 10. The Dominican burned through 110 pitches without getting through the fifth frame in a 6-0 loss to the Twins, his six strikeouts at that point negated by six free passes. He has faced the Indians five times in his career, four as a starter, and is 1-1 with a 4.23 ERA in almost 28 innings.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Crew Q has been assigned to umpire this series, though the group was missing crew chief Gary Cederstrom in Monday's matchup when Quinn Wolcott worked the plate. The rotation now calls for Eric Cooper to call balls and strikes in Game 2, and the 20-year vet is off to a 3-0 O/U start to the season. Chalk is also 3-0 after going 23-9 in Cooper's assignments last season.
Except for the fact the thermometer is going to be in the upper-40s by the time this one ends, it's going to be a nice evening in Chicago. Clear skies are expected, along with a 10-15 mph westerly blow (out to left).
Losses like Monday's can leave s struggling team like the Indians in a funk, while the winning side is on a high. That's how I'm playing my free MLB picks on Tuesday, backing Chicago for the win.
MLB Pick: White Sox +114 at The Greek
Indians vs. White Sox Series Opener
By: Willie Bee
Yeah, it's early, but the AL Central looks to be a 2-horse race between Detroit and Kansas City. That's not a big surprise since the Tigers were around 2/1 favorites to win the division on the Opening Day MLB futures odds, and the Royals were a respectable 7/2.
Trouble is, this was supposed to be a 4-horse race. Those same sports books two weeks ago had the Indians and White Sox between the Tigers and Royals around 5/2; so far, neither Cleveland nor Chicago has lived up to expectations, each coming off sound defeats and sitting tied for last in the division to begin a 3-game set on Monday.
First pitch on the South Side is scheduled for 8:10 PM (ET), and we get another quick mound rematch this soon in the season with Trevor Bauer and John Danks the initial mound combatants. The matchup is very, very close to a pick 'em on the current MLB odds, we'll call the Indians -110 chalk for a consensus. What was an 8 run total to begin with is now 8½.
Hurlers Headed In Opposite Directions Through 2 Starts
If Bauer wasn't pitching as well as he has, the Indians would suck even more than they already do. If Danks wasn't sucking as much, the White Sox would be better. Their first meeting proved it truly is a dog eat dog world.
Cleveland sent home fans home happy last Wednesday with a 4-2 victory over Chicago, helping the Tribe to a split in the abbreviated 2-game set. Bauer saw a 9-inning no-hit streak to start the season end on Jose Abreu's leadoff single in the fourth, and finally allowed his first two runs of the season in the sixth before exiting. A former 3rd-pick overall by Arizona in 2011 out of UCLA, he never made it out of the first inning in his only start at The Cell, a game the Indians eventually won 19-11 nearly 22 months ago.
A 1st-pick himself (Texas No. 9 in 2003), Danks has generally fared better away from the Cell as well. The Austin native is in his 9th-straight MLB season -- all with the ChiSox -- and has especially bad luck with the Indians over the past through seasons. he setback last week left Chicago backers 3-7 his last 10 starts vs. Cleveland, with a chubby 5.70 ERA. Ryan Raburn and Yan Gomes have been tough outs for Danks, the pair hitting a combined .370, and Lonnie Chisenhall is a perfect 4-4 against the southpaw.
Pale Hose With Slim Lead In All-Time Series
Considering they've been getting together since 1901, Chicago's 30-game lead on the history books (1,058-1,028) doesn't seem like much of a lead, 17 more games suspended or ending in ties. The clubs were pretty even a year ago, the Tribe taking honors at 10-9, after the Indians smoked the White Sox 17-2 in 2013.
The White Sox were at least successful in defending the home diamond overall in 2014, winning seven of the 10 played at US Cellular Field. This has been an 'under' heavy series recently, nine of the last 10 overall never making it to the mark. Six of the last seven on Chicago's South Side have also never made it to the scoreboard hurdle despite the park's penchant for being hitter-friendly.
People placing MLB picks won't have to worry about rain tonight in Chicago, but the Windy City will be living up to its name. A west wind (out to left) in the 15-20 mph range is in the forecast, the thermometer in the mid-50s for the start of the game.
A big problem for both the Indians and White Sox up to now has been below-par lineups. They were both scoring below the league average entering Sunday's action, but were middle-of-the pack on the pitching front. Once again, the biggest difference in the teams in the ERA column until now has been the performances of Bauer and Danks. They're both fly ball pitchers, and with what the weatherman is telling us, I'm liking the 'over' for my free pick.
MLB Pick: Indians-White Sox Over 8.5 at Pinnacle