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White Sox at Tigers – Free Pick September 2nd

Chicago White Sox +151 at Detroit Tigers -161 (Total: 7)

Chris Sale vs. Justin Verlander

The Tigers are having the exact weekend they dreamed of.  They’ve taken the first two of the series to pull just one game back of the White Sox and are sending ace Justin Verlander to the hill tonight to finish off the sweep.  It’s all setting up well for Detroit, and they are huge favorites – but will they be able to complete the sweep and tie up the AL Central?  Let’s take a look inside the numbers and find out.

Detroit Has won seven straight against the White Sox in Comerica Park, and 17 of their last 20.  Their dominance over the Sox is a big reason why they have been able to close the division lead to just a single game.  Well, that and the fact the Sox just got swept over the previous weekend by the Kansas City Royals… uggggh.

The Tigers have a powerful offense; everyone knows that and it is a widely accepted fact.  However, they are only hitting .011 higher than the Sox on the season and actually .09 runs less per game (4.75 to 4.66).  The Sox, led by Adam Dunn’s prodigious totals, lead the AL in both homeruns and strikeouts.  It’s a very classic American League feast-or-famine philosophy, but as Robin Ventura has likely already accepted, sometimes you have to play the cards you are dealt.

Chicago has one other thing going for them tonight; Chris Sale.  The young lefty has been fantastic this season, with a 15-5 record and a 2.81 ERA.  His numbers compare extremely well against Verlander’s (12-7, 2.80 ERA).  In fact, Sale’s WHIP is actually slightly lower, 1.04 vs. 1.06.  This game is far from the enormous mismatch that Vegas has it listed at, in fact I like the value of the Chi Sox at +150.

Perhaps Vegas is concerned over the fact that Sale has allowed eight runs in his two starts against Detroit this season.  Perhaps they are concerned that he allowed four runs in just four innings in his last outing.  In fact, Sale is just 1-2 with a 4.42 ERA in his last three outings… maybe Vegas is right….

Until you look at Verlander’s last three starts.  No decisions with a 5.56 ERA!  Even more glaring, his last start was a 5 2/3 inning, 8 earned run mess against the Kansas City Royals (they keep rearing their head in this column…)

Look, Verlander is still great.  In a big game, he’s one of the first pitchers I’d choose to hand the ball to.  But to lay -160 tonight just feels egregious.  I like the value of the White Sox pick tonight, and am going with Chicago in tonight’s ESPN Sunday Night Game of the Week.

Free Pick:  Chicago White Sox to WIN +151