Indians vs. White Sox Pick MLB – April 20th

We got tripped up last night with the Cardinals stymieing the Reds’ bats for the third straight day en route to yet another series sweep of their division rivals. It wasn’t a surprise that Wainwright pitched well. However, it was a bit of a surprise that Mike Leake pitched so well against a club that has historically given him trouble. Leake took the loss but earned a unique backdoor complete game in the process (you don’t see many eight-inning complete games in the National League, because generally if you are losing the game in the NL you have already gotten the hook.) It’s an odd feeling for sure to have a great start and log a complete game… and still be saddled with the L.

Sometimes a victory can feel a bit like a loss. Just ask the Mets. They have the best record in the NL and have won eight straight games after capping off a sweep of the flailing Brewers, but suffered yet ANOTHER injury in the process. Catcher Jeremy D’Arnaud suffered a broken hand and reliever Tyler Blevins, who has been excellent this season, also broke a bone. They will join David Wright on the suddenly crowded DL.   It will be interesting to see if their starting pitching can continue to carry them through this tough stretch or if the brilliant start will become a distant memory…

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Today’s Free Pick:

Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox +100 (Total: 8.5)

Trevor Bauer (2-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. John Denks (0-2, 6.97 ERA)

It’s been polar opposite starts to the season for today starting pitchers, but their respective teams have gotten off to similar starts; not good. Both teams enter 4-7 and are quickly losing touch with the Tigers and Royals who are threating to pile up a daunting April division lead. In fact, if one team were to get swept in this series, it is not unreasonable to think they could spend the entire six months of the season without ever really getting into the thick of the division race. I know, I know, you can’t win a pennant in April. But you can darn sure LOSE one, and both these teams are on that dangerous precipice despite sky-high expectations entering the season.

For Cleveland, the issue has been the offense. They are averaging just over three runs per game, and despite god pitching from Bauer and Kluber, they find themselves in last place in the division and with a -11 run differential. The White Sox are a similar story. They have scored just 38 runs, but their pitching has also failed as they enter tonight with a -14 run differential, a difference of almost one and a half runs per game.

Bauer has won consecutive starts for the first time in his career, so perhaps his early numbers should be tempered with caution. He was the starter in last year’s 19-10 adventure in his only start in Chicago. Meanwhile, Denks has seen the Indians a ton – and it has not gone well. He is 5-12 with a 5.19 ERA; 6.61 in his last six starts.

Tonight seems like a good night for some beleaguered offenses to vent some frustration. I’ll take the over in tonight’s contest as each team gets some much-needed offensive production.

Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 8.5