White Sox vs. Orioles Pick MLB – June 23rd

It’s a new week of matchups in MLB and there are a few great series kicking off, none bigger than the Yankees heading to Toronto with designs on taking over first place in the American League East. They swept the Jays just a week ago to get back into the thick of the race, but this series is in Toronto, a place that has been a nightmare for the Bronx Bombers lately. Interesting enough, though the two team are separated by just 1 ½ games in the standings, Toronto’s run differential is a whopping 55 runs better.

In other action, a pair of first place teams meet up in Milwaukee when the Nationals come to town looking to keep their narrow edge over Atlanta and Miami, and Kansas City will try to stop a four-game slide after their brief one-day stint in first place. Can they get on track this weekend against the mighty Dodgers? It’s a real David vs. Goliath as the small market Royals take on the immense payroll of the Dodgers (and the fact they’ll face Greinke, Kershaw and Haren doesn’t help either). It’ll be interesting to see if last week was just a cruel tease of a long-tortured fan base or if the young Royals are really ready to contend.

Meanwhile, Yu Darvish got yanked around the yard last night and suffered only the second career loss against the division-rival Angels last night, sending me to an underwhelming loss in the process. Let’s bounce back and see if we can start the new week and keep a clean sheet (see, this World Cup fever is taking over… and yes, still heartbroken over the equalizer in the 95th minute yesterday… gut wrenching)

Today’s Free Pick:

Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles (Total: 7.5)

Chris Sale (6-1, 2.20 ERA) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (7-2, 3.78 ERA)

The Orioles will have their hands full tonight with one of the most dominant lefties in the game, Chris Sale. Sale has been dazzling this season, holding opposing hitters to a .171 average. He has been mortal of late, going just 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in his last three starts, but his season WHIP is still a league-low 0.75. I expect him to fare well tonight and be the guy we have seen all season long.

His opponent is Wei-Yin Chen who hasn’t lost a game since May 2nd. While his record is fantastic, it is worth noting that he has been buoyed by a league-leading 6.57 runs of support. That’s a ton of runs and a lot of room for error; I don’t think that’ll happen with Sale on the mound.

Both of these teams can score runs and have some dangerous homerun threats. Alexi Ramirez and Nelson Cruz are among the league leaders, and Adam Dunn and Chris Davis aren’t bad either. But at the end of the day, I’ll take good pitching over good hitting, especially when one of them is as potentially dominant as Chris Sale.

Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 7.5