Nationals vs. White Sox: Pitching Mismatch Makes Chicago Our MLB Pick

Jason Lake

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 11:59 AM GMT

The Chicago White Sox have themselves a shiny new pitcher in James Shields, but they're big +140 home dogs for Wednesday's MLB odds game against the Washington Nationals.

The last time we saw James Shields, he was getting shelled by the Seattle Mariners. He gave up 10 runs to the M's in just 2.2 innings of work; the San Diego Padres lost that game 16-4, falling to 2-9 and –6.67 betting units with Shields (4.42 FIP) on the mound. So the Padres traded him to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, getting Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis, Jr. in return. Oh, and San Diego will reportedly send $30 million to the White Sox to help pay for the remaining $56 million on Shields' contract.

One team's trash is another team's treasure. Shields will make his Chicago debut Wednesday night (8:10 p.m. ET) against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals; at press time, the Pale Hose are +140 home dogs on our MLB odds board. This looks like a good spot to “buy low” on the White Sox, who are in a nasty 2-11 slump after dropping a 10-5 decision to the Nats (–145) on Tuesday.

 

Shields and Yarnell
Once again, we check in with our friendly friends at FiveThirtyEight to see how the primaries are going – I mean, to see their projection for Wednesday's game. They've got Washington (35-23, +4.58 units) winning 57 percent of the time, which works out to –133 on our holy SBR Betting Odds Converter. Praise be.

Shields may have had a lousy time with San Diego, but aside from that can of whoop-ass Seattle opened on him, the veteran righty has pitched well this year: seven quality starts, during which the Padres scored a total of 13 runs and went 2-5. Hardly seems fair. The White Sox (29-29, –1.11 units) have a .693 OPS to San Diego's .673 OPS, and much better relief pitching, so things should improve for Shields on the South Side.

Fantasy Corner
As for Scherzer (4.16 FIP), he's been striking out a career-high 11.18 batters per nine innings, but he's also giving up a career-high 1.77 home runs, leaving the Nats 0.59 units in the red on a team record of 7-5. Washington's still likely to win Wednesday, so let's go with another relief pitcher for your fantasy team; Shawn Kelley is owned in 1.5 percent of ESPN leagues, he's got a win and five holds, and his services weren't required Tuesday.

Otherwise, we're recommending the White Sox for your MLB picks at these odds. Something's not right with Scherzer, and Shields figures to be undervalued after wearing that dreaded Padres uniform for a year and a bit. Note that Shields has a .316 BABIP this year, and Scherzer has a .258 BABIP, so if either of these pitchers is going to get eaten by the regression monsters, it's Scherzer. Enjoy the feast, and may the sphere be with you.

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MLB Pick: White Sox +145
Best Line Offered: at YouWager
Record: 10-11 ML, 3-0 Totals (+2.29 units)