The White Sox altered their roster after losing 99 games a season ago and at least offensively, it has paid dividends. Manager Robin Ventura unfortunately needs a fire truck parked next to the bullpen with the kind of results he’s seen from that crew.
Chicago has and needed to score runs
After being the lowest-scoring team in the American League a season ago at 3.7 runs a game, the White Sox office brought in new players to change their appearance and the early results suggest they did the right thing. The South Siders are averaging 5.0 runs a contest as the third week of the season concludes.
Alexi Ramirez has been a stud with a .357 batting average and .400 on-base percentage. Other surprises include Tyler Flowers (.385 OBP) Conner Gillaspie (.371 OBP) and even Adam Dunn (.459 OBP).
The Sox bullpen has held them back with a WHIP 1.76, thanks to 60 hits allowed in 57 1/3 innings and a major-league worst 41 walks. It is hard to overcome the betting odds when you give the opposition this many chances.
Texas Offense needs to Heat Up
While spring has come to Dallas, the Rangers offense had yet to bloom until this weekend. Even after hanging a dozen on the scoreboard Friday night and six last evening, Texas is still at just 4.4 runs an outing, which is below where they finished in 2013 (4.5), when it was determined the offense needed improvement.
This is why Prince Fielder was brought to town, to help Ron Washington’s batting order but thus far, Fielder has been less then princely with more strikeout’s (10) than rbi’s (6).
With Adrian Beltre battling injuries, thank goodness his backup Kevin Kouzmanoff was ready to play third base. The much-traveled Kouzmanoff is playing like he found a home in Big D, hitting around .400, giving his team a shot in the arm.
One aspect that stands out like another Johnny Depp movie nobody cares about is Texas has just 12 total home runs, which 25th coming into today’s encounter.
Pitching Matchup for Sunday
Chicago’s Erik Johnson (0-1, 6.35 ERA, 1.65 WHIP) is coming off easily his best start of 2014. The 24-year is known for his command of a low 90’s fastball and wipeout slider, but as MLB baseball handicappers have witnessed, he’s had problems with left-handed batters and they are racking him for .355 batting average this season.
Robbie Ross (1-0, 1.00, 1.22) has been thrust into the Texas rotation due to injury. His strength is keeping the ball down, with the intent of having opposing batters kill a vast amount of worms beating the ball into the ground and thus far, he’s had a better than 3.5-to-1 ratio of ground outs compared to fly-outs.
The Chicago relief pitchers have an ERA of 6.12 and have blown four of five save opportunities, however none on the road, not costing anyone making sports picks.
The Texas pen has been a pleasant surprise and they have been especially stellar at home with a 2.39 ERA and have only surrendered 29 base-knocks in 37 1/3 innings of work.
Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
Texas has won six of 11 in their own yard the past three seasons against the Chi-Sox and the UNDER is 7-3-1 in those contests.
The sportsbooks sent out the Rangers at -180 on the money line and that has been bumped up 10 cents to -190. The total has gone the other way, starting at 9.5 and now at 9. Chicago is 17-5 UNDER as a road underdog of +150 to +175 the past three years and Texas is 37-13 UNDER is day games the last two seasons.
The Winner Is…..Texas
Despite the offense not clicking, the Rangers have feasted on Chicago pitching and that could definitely continue today. With Texas 21-3 versus AL teams allowing 5.2 or more runs a game since last year, this seems like one-way action.
MLB Free Picks – Texas wins