With Suspect Pitching In Indians vs White Sox, Back The Over & Cash!

Mike Clevinger Pitching

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, September 15, 2016 12:54 PM GMT

Our MLB handicapper continues his winning season and analyzes this matchup between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Unlike these pitchers, his advice can be trusted.

Cleveland Indians vs Chicago White Sox
It’s a really good thing that the Cleveland Indians are leading the AL Central, as their football team doesn’t look to be doing much soon. On the other hand, it is good for the Chicago area that they have at least one team in World Series contention, as the Cubs are making some folks forget about the White Sox’s uninspiring season so far. At 70-74 coming into Wednesday’s matchups, the White Sox sit 13 back in the AL Central and 8.5 back in the Wild Card standings. They are basically done with any playoff aspirations. My value pick at +250 to take the division based on sabermetric projection back in March, the Cleveland Indians are 6 games up on the Detroit Tigers at 83-61 and have the 2nd best record in the American League.

Early MLB odds have the visiting Indians heavy Moneyline favorites at -154 at Heritage. The O/U total has opened up at 10 runs, with Heritage the only book leaning towards the under at 9.5 runs.

The Cleveland Indians have excelled this season in large part to their starting pitching. Their starters are so good, in fact, that they have compiled the greatest Wins Above Replacement versus any other team in the American League. Now, every team’s rotation will have a back-end starter, and for this year for Cleveland, the best possibility was that would be Mike Clevinger. However, Clevinger struggled mightily in his first starts in May and was sent back to AAA. 'Trying to throw to hard' was a critique that was thrown upon him after those first few starts.

Clevinger has been back up since July and gets his third start in a row for this game, as Danny Salazar has been shelved due to injury and the Indians have placed him back in the rotation. He comes off of a 4-inning effort against the Twins where he struck out 5 and walked 2 while allowing a solo home run. Expect another shorter outing here for Clevinger as he gets stretched out after being in the bullpen most of the season.  That’s not all bad, as Cleveland’s bullpen carries a 3.44 ERA, but they do walk batters at a poor 3.48 BB/9 rate.

Opposing Clevinger in this game and starting for the White Sox is James Shields. Shields came over from the Padres in June, and with the exception of a July run in which he put up a 1.78 ERA in a month, has been absolutely terrible. When another team pays you millions of dollars for you to take a player, maybe this should be expected? Anyway, Shields hasn’t adjusted to the American League well and has put up a 7.07 ERA, 35/26 K/BB rate, and .293 batting average allowed since the All-Star Break. He’s given up the most home runs in his career, 37, and the season isn’t even done yet. Shields strikeouts sit at just 110, after putting up 216 last season with the Padres. Something is wrong with this pitcher that could be mechanical or physical, as his velocity actually dropped very abruptly in the middle of last year. He hasn’t been the same pitcher since.

Ok, so we’ve seen this scenario before in that I don’t trust either of these pitchers enough to put money down on a side with confidence, no matter how much better the Indians have been on paper. I’m willing to wager, though, that at least one of these pitchers has a rough outing on the mound. Take the Over of 9.5 runs here as a solid Thursday MLB Pick.

2016 MLB Record: 53-39-4, +11.10 Units

Free MLB Pick: Over 9.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage, where you can get a 50% Cash Bonus

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