We enter the last week of Spring Training in Arizona and next to last stop is in Scottsdale and our look at MLB odds covers the Chicago White Sox at home of the Colorado Rockies.
The White Sox were among the teams a year ago, given a shot to contend in the AL Central, but got off to a rugged start, only climbed above .500 for one time all season (18-17 on May 17) and finished a disappointing 76-86. Chicago was thought to have potent offense but finished last in runs scored in the league at 3.8 per game and despite in playing in hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, was last in home runs.
Colorado has tried any number of different ways to improve and the results have largely failed in the Rockies franchise history. Coming off a 68-94 season, not much more is expected this season, though the future, at least for now is a little brighter. The MLB odds for either team are not inspiring for the local fans who could very well have to endure another losing campaign.
White Sox Odds - AL Central 4th (+600) - Win Total O/U 82
Manager Robin Ventura is hoping his team grows up this year, as he felt right from the end of spring training his team came into the season with the wrong attitude and it never recovered. Chicago added a true professional in 3B Todd Frazier from Cincinnati. With Jose Abreu at first, the White Sox are set at the corners, but not as much up the middle with Brett Lawrie taking over second base and is on his third team in three years and known as a clubhouse cancer despite being still only 26.
Ventura hopes Melky Cabera and Avisail Garcia bounce back in a big way from off season as corner outfielders. Chris Sale is the top lefthander in the AL and Jose Quintana is among the better and most reliable No.2 starters in the league. Carlos Rodon is a prized possession and could blossom into another top starter, with serviceable John Danks and Mat Latos rounding out lefty-heavy starting staff.
The bullpen was above average but closer David Robertson was a disappointment and he will have to carry more of the load in 2016 if Chicago is too improve. For MLB picks, the oddmakers win total on the Pale Hose looks accurate and they could surpass it with more offense and better pen, but I wouldn't bet on it.
Colorado Odds - NL West 5th (+5000) - Win Total O/U 71
The trade of Troy Tulowitzki was the signal Colorado was going a different direction and they made a nice haul of young players from Toronto, who should be on the Rockies roster in a few years. However, for now, the losses will be coming and Colorado will score at home and not as much on the road.
On offense with Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon, skipper Walt Weiss has the core of a good offense, but could use a bigger stick at first base than Ben Paulson. Arenado has quickly developed into the best third sacker in the game and if his offense stays at a high level, he becomes truly elite player. SS Trevor Story has been the talk of spring and he's expected to make an impact if he cuts down on strikeouts.
Finally, Colorado is developing power arms like Jon Gray, who is full for full season in Denver at 24. Jorge De La Rosa is still the ace of the staff and the other starters are inconsistent at best. The bullpen made changes but they still figures to be among the worst in the senior circuit and be overworked again (2nd most innings in the NL). The Rockies are among a plethora of NL teams expected to lose a bunch of games and how they perform against their peers will determine their win total. Best to pass on them this year and play them over at home and under on the road.
It was another day of the wind blowing out in Arizona and while we had seven home runs in White Sox 11-7 triumph, only one was taken out by the wind. John Danks for Chicago allowed four runs and eight hits with five strikeouts over six innings, but was visibly shaken after giving up consecutive home runs to Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez for Colorado. Blackmon had three hits and Gonzalez two and Story looks like he's ready to take over shortstop with Jose Reyes suspended for off the field issues. That was his sixth homer of the spring.
If Colorado did not have other starting pitchers out, you wonder if Jordan Lyles would even make the 25-man roster. Lyles was tagged for nine hits and seven runs in only 4 2/3 innings and gave up two of Chicago's four bombs. The at gives him a 7.72 ERA since having toe surgery. Four different White Sox players had three hits, including Carlos Sanchez, who homered twice and Jose Abreu and Matt Davidson each had one dingers among there trio of base-knocks. Abreu's was the longest I had seen at Talking Stick Fields and Chicago leads the majors with 46 spring homers.