The last two times that Jon Lester has been slated to start a game, yesterday against the Cleveland Indians, and last week against the St. Louis Cardinals, a game that was eventually canceled, he opened up as a fairly large underdog. In both games, the sharps and the public both hammered Lester and the Cubs, and in both games, the Cubs closed out as betting favorites.
It was an interesting trend that had me asking myself yesterday, who is wrong? The books that keep listing Lester and the Cubs as underdogs? Or the sharp bettors and public that keep seeing enough value in backing Chicago to move the lines 30-40 points?
I felt that the books missed on this one and jumped on the betting bandwagon and backed the Cubs. Lester had been unhittable in his previous two starts this season, and that influenced my bet for sure. But the main factor I considered in backing Chicago, wasn’t about a player on the field, it was one that wasn’t going to be playing, Cleveland Indians starter Mike Clevinger.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 12, 2020
Clevinger was quarantined from the team for violating their health and safety protocols, and the Indians were forced to spot start Adam Plutko in his place. That was a huge downgrade on the mound, and I felt that fading Plutko instead of Clevinger made this a high-value play and backed the Cubs as small dogs.
And at the end of the day, I didn’t even have to sweat this one out at all as the Cubs dominated the game. Plutko lasted just four innings, and while he wasn’t at that all bad, he did leave a lot of work for the bullpen, and they couldn’t handle the load, as they got pounded for six runs, and the Cubs won the game 7-1.
Lester was light’s out again as he pitched six innings of one-run ball and allowed just three hits and runs his season record to 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA. It was a nice money line underdog winner. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Detroit, where the Tigers host the White Sox.
Chicago White Sox (9-9) at Detroit Tigers (9-6)
The Detroit Tigers host the Chicago White Sox today on getaway day, in game three of a three-game series. The series is all tied up at one game apiece after the Tigers won game one, and the White Sox tied up the series last night in game two. The Tigers are somewhat shockingly in second place in the American League Central Division standings, trailing the first-place Minnesota Twins by just half a game entering play tonight. Last night’s loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Tigers.
For Chicago, the White Sox are looking to avoid losing back to back series to division rivals, as they lost their last series to the Cleveland Indians. Chicago won six straight games earlier this month, but they have fallen on hard times recently, as they are 2-5 in their last seven games and have dropped to fourth place in the division with the recent skid.
Starting today for the Tigers is Matthew Boyd (0-1 9.20 ERA), and for the White Sox, it is Dylan Cease (2-1 4.05 ERA). The game total over-under is set nine runs. The White Sox are small -125 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 AM PST from Comerica Park in Detroit.
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox continue to be the streakiest team in the American League as it has been feast or famine, for the White Sox so far this season. Right now, they are struggling as they have lost five out of their last seven games, but with the win last night, are hoping they are about to turn things back around. The White Sox had been one of the highest-scoring teams in the American League before this recent skid, and the lack of production at the plate has really hurt them
Before finally scoring some runs last night, the White Sox had scored just fourteen runs in their previous seven games combined. Two runs a game just isn’t going to get it done, and Chicago needs to find a way to wake up the bats today against a Tigers team that allows a lot of runs.
Dylan Cease (2-1 4.05 ERA)
During this recent multi-year rebuild, the Chicago White Sox have loaded up on young guys that they hoped would turn into star players on the Major League level. Some of them did that quickly, with guys like Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez quickly turning into All-Star level players. Other guys, like Luis Robert, seem to be well on their way to stardom. But some of these guys have had a harder time reaching the mountain top, like today’s starting pitcher, Dylan Cease.
Cease got his first taste of big league ball last year and in fourteen starts wasn’t very good. He has looked better in three starts this year, though, as after getting roughed up in his first start of the season, he has pitched a combined eleven innings in his last two starts and has allowed just two earned runs. The Achilles heel for Cease has always been walks, as he struggles with his command at times and hands out a lot of free passes to first base.
Most people, myself included, did not expect the Tigers to be in contention this season. But they have surprisingly been able to win games, and they are getting the job done recently by busting out the bats. During the Tiger’s recent four-game winning streak, they scored thirty-five runs on forty-five hits. This team doesn’t have as much talent as some of the other teams in the AL Central, but if they can keep slugging the baseball like they have in the last week, they can hang with anybody.
Matthew Boyd (0-1 9.20 ERA)
Matthew Boyd is an old school type of pitcher. He winds up and throws heat, and if you can catch up to it, you can hit it a mile. If you can’t, you sit down, shaking your head. Last year was boom or bust for Boyd on the mound as his 238 strikeouts were amongst the highest in the American League. He was also the league leader in home runs allowed, with a whopping 39!
Last year in four starts against the White Sox, Boyd was 2-2 with a 4.87 ERA. We saw his trademark strikeouts, as he racked up 32 K’s in 20.1 innings pitched against the South Siders. But we also saw him allow three home runs in those twenty innings pitched, and I would expect Chicago to put a couple of balls in the stands today in this one.
Who Do I Like?
I expect fireworks in this game today. While the White Sox bats have been hot and cold this season, they seemed to snap out of that funk yesterday in the first inning when they touched up Tigers starter Tyler Anderson for four runs in the first frame. I expect Chicago to build on that today, and it wouldn’t shock me to see a similar start to this game against Matthew Boyd, as he tends to give up most of his runs in the first couple of innings.
I think the White Sox will hit Boyd hard, and while I can’t say for sure that Dylan Cease will be any better, if this game turns into a slugfest, the White Sox just have a lot more firepower. In a game that seems destined to coast to the over, with a lot of runs hitting the board, I am going to back the better offensive team and take the White Sox in this one. Give me the Chicago White Sox as small road favorites today in Detroit!