The Tribe will send veteran southpaw Scott Kazmir (6-4/3.96 ERA) to the mound tonight. The White Sox counter with a veteran of their own in Jake Peavy (8-4/4.28 ERA). Which one should you back in your MLB picks? Let's break down the situation.
Entering this week, the Indians found themselves just 3.0 games back of the American League Central division leading Detroit Tigers with a record of 56-48. The Indians have been a rock solid 33-19 at home thus far. Cleveland has won 7 of the 9 meetings between these two clubs this season. In their most recent meetings at the end of June, the Indians swept a 3-game series from the White Sox at Comiskey Park.
The Indians entered this series having won 4 in a row and were coming off a
3-game sweep of the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field.
The Indians blanked the Rangers in the last 2 games of the series giving the
Tribe pitching staff an outstanding 14 shutouts on the season. With the sweep
of the Rangers, the Indians entered the White Sox series having won 7 in a row
at home. The Indians possess a very balanced lineup which has seen 5 players
hit 11 home runs or more this season. Cleveland can really gather even more
momentum this week with 7 games on tap versus the White Sox and Marlins who are
a combined 80-125 (.390). More importantly, that 7-game stretch will be followed
by a 4-game home series versus the division leading Detroit Tigers.
The White Sox have inexplicably not been able to get it going this year. The White Sox entered this series having lost 6 of their last 7 including being swept at home versus Kansas City over the weekend. Chicago managed to score just 3 runs combined in those 3 games versus the Royals, and have scored 2 runs or less in 5 of their last 6 overall. The White Sox have hit a paltry .227 as a team versus southpaw pitching this season.
The extended weather forecast calls for the temperature to be around 73% with partly cloudy skies and winds from the east at 4 miles per hour.
The Indians starter Scott Kazmir has displayed very good form over his last 3 starts posting a microscopic 0.89 ERA and 0.74 WHIP. Kazmir is a perfect 5-0 at home this season with a 3.92 ERA. Kazmir has seen 3 of his last 4 and 8 of his last 11 starts go under the total. The lefty has allowed 2 earned runs or less in 6 of his last 7 starts. Kashmir is a very profitable 35-12 in his career team starts as a favorite of -125 to -175.
The White Sox starter Jake Peavy has really fallen on hard times over his last
4 starts. In those 4 outings Peavy has posted a large 8.38 ERA and allowed a
whopping 6 home runs in 19 1/3 innings. In 7 road starts this season Peavy has
a lofty 6.10 ERA. One thing that Peavy can hang his hat on is the one time he’s
faced the Indians this season. In that start on April 14th at Progressive Field
the White Sox right-hander went 7.0 innings allowing 1 earned run, 5 hits, and
struck out 11 while walking none in a 3-1 win. Peavy is 4-1 in his last 5 team
starts versus Cleveland.
The Indians have seen their last 6 games go under the total when facing a right-handed starting pitcher. The Indians are a terrific 9-1 at home this season when the total is 7.0 or 7.5.
The White Sox are a dismal 2-15 in their last 17 in game 2 of a series. The Sox are just 9-17 this season versus a left-handed starting pitcher including 2-13 when on the road. The White Sox have gone a horrific 21-41 in night games this season.
These two teams are obviously going in opposite directions. You can make the argument that the Indians have been one of the top five overachieving teams in baseball while the White Sox are on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Ironically, these are also two veteran pitchers that are headed down different paths. Scott Kazmir has revitalized his once promising career with the Indians. Jake Peavy looks to be on the down side of his. Peavy's whole body of work this season doesn't lead one to believe that to be the case just yet. However, considering how dominating Peavy was early in his career, there has been a considerable drop off in his performance.
I'm not fond of laying this big a number on the money line, but I just can't make a case for the underdog. For my sports picks, my lean is clearly with the Cleveland Indians in this spot.