The Chicago White Sox haven’t won the AL Central Division since 2008 but are right in the mix with the Twins and the Indians this year. The Sox need to beat up on the bad teams like the division-rival Tigers to emerge as champions. They open a three-game series on the South Side on Friday.
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Why Bet on Detroit?
The Tigers could be very thin in their bullpen for this one after playing a doubleheader in St. Louis on Thursday. Detroit remains without outfielder JaCoby Jones, who will miss the rest of the year. Shortstop Niko Goodrum is on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain. He might be back this weekend when eligible.
Goodrum only feels the pain when he is hitting from the left-side of the plate — not when throwing or doing infield drills. There’s a chance he only bats right-handed the rest of the season, Manager Ron Gardenhire said. From the right side against lefties, he is 8-for-26 (.308) with two homers and six RBIs.
Willi Castro has taken Goodrum’s spot at short and played quite well since being called up from Toledo. Although Castro is still striking out about once every four plate appearances, that’s down from 30 percent in 2019. Castro has credited working with Indians first baseman Carlos Santana this spring for the adjustment. Santana encouraged him to stay back and set a strong position with his feet.
“That’s been helping me a lot,” Castro said. “Sometimes I get too excited and swing at bad pitches. I’m just focusing on that spot where I want to hit the ball.”
It’s Casey Mize (0-1), one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and a former No. 1 overall pick, scheduled on the mound Friday. Mize struggled in a no-decision against the Twins on Sunday, allowing three runs on five hits over his four-plus innings of work.
The right-hander struck out three and walked two. After keeping the Twins off the board through the first two innings, he allowed a two-run single to Willians Astudillo in the third inning. Mize then allowed a leadoff double to Jorge Polanco in the fifth inning before getting the hook. Through is first four starts, Mize has a 6.75 ERA, 1.70 WHIP and 16/4 K/BB ratio over 14 innings.
His MLB debut was at the White Sox on Aug. 19. Mize surrendered three runs in 4 1/3 innings. He looked really early in this one, but he faded quickly and gave up hits to three of the four batters he faced in the fifth. He ended up throwing 73 pitches.
Why Bet on Chicago?
The Sox have won five of six and have been off since an 8-1 rout of the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. James McCann hit his fourth and fifth homers of the year in the win – his first career multi-homer game. Yoan Moncada had two hits for the White Sox, who finished a 10-day road trip 6-3 to help them keep pace in the tightly contested AL Central
McCann is batting .333/.392/.580 in 79 plate appearances yet is largely the No. 2 catcher behind Yasmani Grandal. The White Sox can and occasionally do play both of their catchers at the same time, though, with one at DH.
“I’m going to continue to prepare myself to play and whatever games my name’s called, I’m going to be ready to do that,” said McCann.
Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to a career-best 22 straight game in the win. Abreu is hitting .378/.425/.804 with 10 homers and 28 RBI during the streak, which is his 13th career of 10-plus games, fourth of 15-plus and second of 20-plus. Abreu and Eddie Collins (three times) are the only players in Sox history with multiple hitting streaks of 20-plus games. Abreu is the only active player in MLB with multiple single-season hitting streaks of 21-plus games.
It’s ace Lucas Giolito (4-2) on the mound. Giolito struck out nine batters over six-plus innings to earn his fourth win of the season last Saturday versus the Royals. Giolito was cruising until the bottom of the seventh, when Ryan O’Hearn hit a leadoff single and Maikel Franco followed with an RBI double. Franco then scored on an Adalberto Mondesi RBI single on reliever Ross Detwiler.
Giolito has a 3.29 ERA and a brilliant 75/18 K/BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings. He has a 1.71 ERA with 31 strikeouts over 21 innings over his past three home starts.
Expert PredictionWhite Sox 5, Tigers 2
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