MLB Picks: Pro Handicapper Leans White Sox & Sale vs. Astros

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, July 2, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Saturday, Jul. 2, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

The Astros are in a winning streak as the season approaches the All-Star break. Let's review the MLB odds as they welcome the White Sox to Minute Maid Park in this second game.

When last I put my pen to paper or more accurately, pecking fingers to keyboard, I steered out of my lane and delved into the wonderful world of baseball totals. This handicapper is accustomed to perusing the MLB odds and backing sides not totals but I decided Wednesday was the day to release my top three sharpest totals on the board. I should have swept my MLB picks that day but came away 2-1 and added 1.02 units to our bankroll.

Today we lock in on one afternoon affair between the scorching Houston Astros as they take on the Southsiders' ace, Chris Sale.


Chicago White Sox (40-40, -0.8 units)
If you were to describe the season the White Sox ace Chris Sale is having you would immediately reach for any number of superlatives. But after you are done gushing about Sale, the rest of the team is...meh. Chicago is in the bottom third of the majors leagues in runs scored, team batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. Melky Cabrera is the only member of the White Sox within shouting distance of a .300 batting average (.294) and though Todd Frazier's 23 home runs is impressive, his .203 batting average is not. Chicago is a team comprised of a few shining stars surrounded by mediocrity and thus their 40-40 record is perfectly understandable.

Speaking of Chris Sale (13-2, 2.79, 0.98 WHIP), he will toe the slab for the Southsiders this afternoon. The  27-year-old superstar leads the majors with 13 wins against just two losses and put on another masterful display in his last outing when he limited the Blue Jays to just two runs on five hits in eight innings of work resulting in a 5-2 Chicago win. Sale is 4-1 with a 0.66 ERA and a 0.66 WHIP to match, in five career starts against the Astros.


Houston Astros (43-37, -2.0 units)
Anyone who tailed Houston early on in the season got positively hammered. However, if you were fashionably late to the Astros' party then congratulations, your timing couldn't be better. The 'Stros have won 11 of their last 12 games and are still -2 units on the season. But the team that was so highly touted after a playoff appearance last season looked woeful in the early going but has made a herculean effort to become relevant again. Houston has climbed to second place in the AL West but still trail the Texas Rangers by 8½ games.

Right-hander Doug Fister (8-4, 3.36, 1.20 ERA) gets the assignment for Houston and hopes for a bit of redemption after he saw his seven-game winning streak broken against the Royals on Sunday. Fister surrendered four runs on eight hits in six plus innings of work in a  6-1 loss. The 6'8" veteran is 3-4 when starting against the White Sox with an ERA of 3.77 and a WHIP of 1.387.  His team's record is 4-6 (-2.5 units) in these starts.


Betting Analysis
It's so hard to bet against Chris Sale. As a matter of fact you need some very compelling reasons to do so, otherwise just pass the game if you get cold feet. But I am not going to pass this game and I sure as hell am not betting against the best pitcher in baseball. Yes, today Chris Sale is my new best buddy and it's hard not to see why.

The man put on a dazzling display in his previous outing against the Astros back on May 19th at U.S. cellular Field. He pitched a complete game and allowed just one run on four hits in a 2-1 victory. Though his opposing number today, Doug Fister, had a winning effort in his last outing against the White Sox - a 5-3 decision where he allowed three earned runs on nine hits in six plus - he was not the same overwhelming threat that Sale was in his performance. That is only logical because Fister is not the force of nature that Sale has been this season and in years past.

Here are a few stats to consider:
The White Sox are 14-3 in Sale’s last 17 starts.
The White Sox are 4-1 in Sale’s last five starts against Houston.
The White Sox are 11-2 in Sale’s last 13 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.

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MLB Pick: White Sox -103
Best Line Offered:  at Pinnacle
Swinger's 2016 MLB Record: 42-23, +19.53 units

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