MLB Picks: Underdog Offers Promising Returns In Rangers vs. White Sox Game 1

Friday, April 22, 2016 1:37 PM GMT

The Rangers invade the South Side of Chicago for a three game set with the White Sox after reeling off four consecutive wins. Let’s score a winner in our MLB picks tonight.

2016 MLB Record (6-5, +0.01 units)

Texas Rangers (10-6, +5.6 units)
It was a fruitful six-game home stand for the Texas Rangers after taking two of three from the Orioles and then sweeping the Houston Astros. Texas now sits atop the AL West with a 10-6 mark and hopes to add some daylight between them and second place Oakland. The Rangers offense is clicking as they boast top 10 numbers in batting average (7th), on base percentage (10th) and runs scored (5th). Yet their pitching has been even more impressive with a 2.49 team ERA while holding opposition batters to a .206 average.

Martin Perez will take the bump for the Rangers and has been solid, though unlucky, in his three previous starts. Perez has an 0-1 record to show for his 3.44 ERA and has seen his mates in the bullpen implode on two of his three appearances this season. Speaking of the Rangers bullpen, their performances have been abysmal thus far, owners of the American League’s worst 5.59 ERA. Those who have backed Perez in their MLB picks have seen the Rangers lose in Perez’s last five starts dating back to last season. His most recent outing was more of the same as he logged six innings of work, surrendered just two earned runs on six hits yet the dismal results of an 11-5 loss to Baltimore ensued.

 

Chicago White Sox (10-6, +3.9 units)
The South Siders have dropped four of their last six games yet are only a half game out of the AL Central division lead. The White Sox offense has been, well, quite offensive this season and not in a good way. The club is mired in the cellar of all the major offensive statistical categories as they are 28th in runs scored, 29th in batting average, 29th in on base percentage and 28th in slugging percentage. Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera are the only two players hitting above .300 with five offensive starters hitting .217 or below.

Chicago’s No. 2 man in the rotation, Jose Quintana, will get the start tonight at U.S. Cellular Field and is coming off a solid performance against the Rays when he allowed two earned runs on six hits over six innings. Despite that effort he was hung with the loss in a 3-2 defeat. Quintana is 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP on the young season.

 

Betting Analysis
As I review the MLB odds on this matchup I am a bit surprised that the White Sox are as high as a -162 favorite against a team that is solidly grounded offensively and has won their last four games. We have two starting pitchers that are similar in terms of talent, both upper echelon hurlers but not elite, yet the home favorite is woefully lacking in offense. The tipping point here is that the White Sox bullpen has been lights out (1.62 ERA) while the Rangers’ pen has been in the dark (5.59).

Texas starter Martin Perez is 2-0 when starting against the White Sox in his career with an ERA of 2.25 and a WHIP of 0.875. That’s not shabby at all. Meanwhile, Chicago starter Jose Quintana is 1-1 when starting against Texas with an ERA of 4.32 and a WHIP of 1.200. That being said, do we think it’s smart to lay all that lumber with the only clear advantage being the disparity in bullpens?

Assuming the Rangers pen is called upon, which will most likely happen unless Perez chucks a complete game, are the White Sox even capable offensively of taking advantage? These teams are 3-3 over the last two seasons in games played at the White Sox’ home field so there is no advantage there for either team. Call me a dog lover but I am backing this travelin’ pup tonight and grabbing the juice instead of laying it.

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Free MLB Pick: Texas Rangers +154
Best Line Offered: at Heritage