The AL Central leading Chicago White Sox look to bounce back strong after dropping a 5-3 decision to the Astros last night. I think people are waiting for the White Sox to a hit a wall and regress, but they haven’t hit that wall, yet. They are sure to hit rough waters eventually; handling it will be interesting to see. The good teams know how to navigate it and come out safely, but I know people are going to doubt how well the White Sox will be able to do it. The White Sox have now lost four straight, so the realization of them hitting a wall could be imminent. The White Sox do have a weapon in their arsenal that might help out today, Chris Sale. The undisputed ace for the team is having himself a stellar campaign, positioning himself into Cy Young talks once again. It’s only May, but it’s safe to say that Sale will garner some attention for the Cy Young. The White Sox have gone 1-6 in their last seven games, Sale will try and put an end to this skid right away.
It’d be a huge win for the Astros if they can bump the White Sox out again tonight. The ‘Stros have captured the first two games of this series. It’s a nice couple of games for the former World Series favorite Astros. Yes, I said former, the Astros were a hot pick to go to the World Series, but after a dismal start to the season I’d say that no one has the Astros reaching the World Series. Is anyone even confident that they’ll find the postseason? No doubt about it though, there is still a lot of time left, and for the White Sox, there is a lot of time left to fall the rest of the way. It’s like doing really well on the first exam at the start of the semester, and then bombing the final exam and finding yourself in a hard place. The White Sox certainly want to avoid that scenario, they have passed the first test with flying colors, but the rest has yet to be seen. We will find out if the White Sox can avoid a five-game losing streak today at home behind their ace.
Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox
Collin McHugh (4-3, 5.58 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (8-0, 1.67 ERA)
I see this as an important game for the White Sox. Losing a fifth in a row, with Sale on the mound would, I imagine, set in some frustration. Sale is a perfect 8-0 and hasn’t been hit by any team yet. So, conversely, a win could set the Astros in motion. In other words, this is a pretty big early season matchup for both teams. The Astros will have to somehow solve Chris Sale. Note that he enters with a 1.67 ERA, including a 0.76 WHIP and .216 OBA. That is nearly flawless. Sale’s best year in 2014, a year which saw him finish with an ERA of 2.17. He looks to match or surpass that in 2016, after a bit of a blip on the radar last year, a 3.41 ERA in 2015. The ‘Stros haven’t been able to figure him out, at all. Sale has posted a 0.56 ERA and 0.72 WHIP against the Astros across 32 innings, mind boggling numbers.
McHugh will try and keep pace with Sale, which is easier said than done. McHugh hasn’t exactly been all there, with a below average start. He comes into Chicago with a 5.58 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. More concerning is the fact that he’s gotten mauled on the road, with a 8.74 ERA and 2.12 WHIP. If the Astros want to get into a duel with Chris Sale, McHugh may not be the guy for the job. This looks like a comfortable win for the White Sox, who should get on the right track backed by Sale.
PICK: WHITE SOX -1.5 (+112)