It’s been a fine start to the 2020 MLB season with my free MLB picks as I’ve rattled off four wins in six tries after another 2-1 night last night.
I had the under 10.5 between the Blue Jays and Nationals, and that’s the winner that came with ease. The Jays hit four solo shots and the Nats scratched across just a single run in a 4-1 final that fell well under the total.
Shortly thereafter, I hit another under, although this one was a nail-biter between the Mets and Red Sox. The Mets scored seven early runs, and it looked like the pick was in jeopardy. However, the Mets were shut out from there on out while the Red Sox scored four times in a 7-4 Mets final that fell a hair under the 11.5-run total.
Finally, I had the Tigers as -125 favorites over the division-rival Royals, a pick that looked excellent in the early going when Detroit built a 5-1 lead. However, the Royals onslaught began and they would score 14 of the next 15 runs in the game in what ended up as a 14-6 Royals blowout of the Tigers.
The 2-1 night earned us 0.75 units in profit as I’ll turn my attention to today’s 14-game MLB schedule!
Season Record: 4-2
Now let’s take a look at this free MLB pick featuring the White Sox vs. Indians in the nightcap of their double-header!
White Sox vs. Indians Betting Odds
- White Sox (+111)
- Indians (-121)
- White Sox +1.5 (-170)
- Indians -1.5 (+150)
- Over 10.5 (+100)
- Under 10.5 (-120)
White Sox vs. Indians MLB Pick Breakdown
Pitching Matchup: Rodon (CWS) vs. Plutko (CLE)
Perhaps the forgotten man in a White Sox rotation that features Lucas Giolito at the top, a couple of veterans in Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez underneath and high-upside youngsters in Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech – with the latter opting out of the 2020 season – former prized prospect Carlos Rodon will make his 2020 debut this evening against the division-rival Indians.
Injuries have been the name of the game for the left-hander so far in his big0league career as he’s pitched just 224.2 innings over the last three seasons and 69.1 innings or fewer in two of those three.
The ailments have hindered his production, although he owns a solid 4.08 ERA/4.25 FIP with an 8.83 K/9 clip in his big league career to this point.
Last year he slipped to a 5.19 ERA in just 34.2 innings, however his peripheral 3.62 FIP, 4.13 xFIP and big-time 11.94 K/9 clip suggest he deserved a much better fate. Still, his 4.41 BB/9 was a cause for concern as control issues have reared their head too often to this point with a 3.88 career BB/9 clip.
In his latest tune-up, Rodon allowed two earned runs in five innings with seven strikeouts in an exhibition against the Brewers on July 22.
After making 20 starts and throwing 109.1 innings from the back-end of the Indians’ rotation in 2019, right-hander Adam Plutko makes his season debut tonight against the White Sox.
He was serviceable, but didn’t end the season with great numbers in the form of a 4.86 ERA/5.23 FIP with a lowly 6.42 K/9 and 1.81 HR/9 a season ago.
Plutko displayed qualify control as he’s done throughout his minor-league career as he posted a 2.14 BB/9 last season and owns a 2.42 mark for his career in 189.2 big-league frames.
Furthermore, Plutko’s minor-league numbers haven’t exactly been dominant as he posted a 7.47 ERA in four Triple-A starts last season and a 5.90 ERA/5.29 FIP in 135.2 Triple-A innings in the 2017 season with a productive 2018 Triple-A campaign sandwiched between the two.
He is getting the start in game 2 of today’s double-header, but Plutko is set to pitch out of the bullpen moving forward with Zach Plesac winning the fifth starters job for the Indians.
The White Sox dropped two of three while seeing their pitching staff touched up by the Twins over the weekend.
That said, the re-built Chicago offense hit seven home runs in that opening series and appear to be the real deal after finishing 24th with a .309 wOBA last season.
The additions of Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnacion to the club’s offense should add some thump to a lineup beaming with upside with the likes of Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert set to form the next core of the White Sox offense.
The offseason improvements have paid early dividends as the White Sox sit tied for second with a .378 wOBA on the season and second with a .257 ISO in the early going.
The Indians are very much built on pitching as their pitching staff was one of the best in baseball last season, but the offense is off to a sluggish start this season.
Outside of Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor it’s not a terribly inspiring group on paper and one that has began the season with a 19th-ranked .301 wOBA and 25th-ranked .105 ISO through the first three games of the season.
The Indians offense enjoyed a big second half to the 2019 season, led by a Jose Ramirez resurgence and additions such as Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes to the club’s struggling outfield, but there weren’t many offseason additions while Puig is now a free agent.
Ramirez, Lindor and Carlos Santana should be just fine, but the Indians’ offense will need to step up in support of their dynamite pitching staff if the team is to get back into the playoffs in 2020.
Taking on the loaded Twins offense to open the season was not a confidence booster for this White Sox pitching staff that allowed 27 runs over the first three games of the season.
The White Sox bullpen now ranks 27th with a 7.27 ERA in the early going after a 2019 campaign in which they ranked 14th with a 4.33 ERA and 15th with a 2.7 fWAR from that group.
Veteran reliever Steve Cishek was brought in as part of the club’s busy winter, although the team likely didn’t enjoy watching Kelvin Herrera obliterated in his season debut after a disastrous 2019 season as well.
The team does have some productive arms in that bullpen, however, but whether they can remain in the top half of the league remains to be seen this early in the season.
Few clubs received more production from their bullpen than the Indians did a season ago as Cleveland ranked third with a 3.76 ERA, 10th with a 4.18 FIP and 11th with a 4.0 fWAR.
The peripherals were obviously not as kind as their surface ERA, but it’s probably worth noting that this group has yet to surrender an earned run this season in nine innings of work.
Of course, it’s a tiny sample, but clean outings for the likes of Brad Hand, Oliver Perez and Adam Cimber is certainly an encouraging start to the season.
That said, those outings came against the light-hitting Royals while the White Sox will present a much bigger challenge for the Indians ‘pen this series.
Bullpens can be a volatile aspect of a team’s makeup from season-to-season, and while the bullpens have pitched in opposite directions to start this season, that’s not a terribly big factor for me this early.
Rather, I see the starting pitching and offensive advantage going to the White Sox in spades here, and combined with their underdog odds, I’m on them in this one.
No, we won’t quite know what to expect from Rodon after an injury-shortened 2019 season, but he’s largely pitched well in between the various ailments that have stalled his big-league career to this point.
Additionally, I can see this White Sox offense teeing off on Plutko whose 2019 results weren’t all too inspiring and weren’t good enough to crack the club’s five-man rotation this time around.
There’s a little but of a wild card factor here too in the sense that we don’t know which relievers will be available in the second game of a double-header, and we don’t know what the lineups will look like either.
However, I remain in the stance that the starting pitching advantage goes to Chicago and the offensive advantage does as well, regardless of who fills out the lineup for either club.
Add in the +111 odds and I’m on the road dogs in the night cap tonight.