Are the Chicago White Sox going to be the surprise team of 2016? There is a long time to go for us to say anything, but the White Sox have jumped out to a better than expected start. There was plenty of controversy during spring training that had nothing to do with baseball. It was something that had the possibility of sending the locker room into disarray, but thus far, the team has been doing just fine. The issue at hand was surrounding Adam LaRoche and his son. White Sox management essentially told LaRoche to stop bringing his kid to games and hanging around the club house.
LaRoche didn’t take it so well and subsequently retired. The White Sox ace and undisputed best player on the roster, Chris Sale, was irate with management. It led to some talk about how it’s going to tear the team apart and the White Sox season was in the tubes already.
Not so fast. Not only have the White Sox weathered the storm of that controversy, they’ve been playing better baseball than anybody expected. Thanks to a 8-4 start to the year, the White Sox are holding tight with the Royals and Tigers. I’m going to say, though, I’m not all that confident the White Sox are going to be able to hang around. The Royals and Tigers should pull away, as the White Sox fade to the back. However, who knows, there are always one or two teams that surprise everybody. The White Sox want to be one of those teams.
For the Angels, they’ve had their chances at a World Series. The last few seasons they built up a team which was supposed to be a perennial powerhouse. You have Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on the same team, what could possibly go wrong? A lot of money up in flames is what happened. Pujols hasn’t been the same player since he was with the St. Louis Cardinals. He could have went out as a beloved Cardinal, but he chose money instead. While his bank account is fatter, the Angels aren’t getting the best ROI with Pujols. Let’s see how they fare tonight against the upbeat White Sox.
L.A. Angels vs. Chicago White Sox
Hector Santiago (0-0, 3.95 ERA) vs. Carlos Rodon (1-1, 1.38 ERA)
The Angels are certainly not going to be able to rely on pitching season, and by the looks of it, the offense isn’t going to be that reliable, either. If Mike Trout could duplicate himself a few times over, the Angles would be in business. However, other than him the offense lacks any potency. And even then, Trout hasn’t found a rhythm yet. He has knocked home 1 home run with a batting average of .231. Pujols? He’s sitting there with 1 home run and .195 average at the plate. The perception that the Angels have some kind of vaunted offense is false, they are going to struggle to find the big numbers they need to do damage this season.
The White Sox do have some pitching that could carry them some this season. It isn’t going to be enough, but look at this 8-4 start, they can thank their pitching. Notably, the combo of Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon has proved to be big for them. Rodon comes into tonight with an ERA of 1.38, backed by strong performances against Athletics and Twins. He has allowed only 2 runs across those two games. I expect him to build off a rookie campaign, in which he posted a 3.75 ERA. That should improve in his sophomore year.
He’ll get the call against Hector Santiago tonight, who is really the only pitcher I like in their rotation. He enters tonight with an ERA of 3.95. His 1.02 WHIP indicates he hasn’t been allowing many base runners, he’s been getting killed by the deep ball. Thankfully for Santiago, the White Sox do not have an offense that is proficient going yard. With a total of 8.5, I like this one to sail UNDER the total.
PICK: UNDER 8.5 RUNS (-125)