After the first game of this series was postponed on Friday, these two teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday. Chicago was expected to contend for a World Series this season but the White Sox are off to a sluggish start. At 6-7, they currently sit in third place in the American League Central race, two games back of the division-leading Kansas City Royals. Meanwhile, Boston has been one of the MLB’s biggest surprises. After getting swept to open the season, the Red Sox fired off nine straight wins before snapping the win streak in their series finale against the Minnesota Twins.
Can the Red Sox get back on the winning track at home against the White Sox on Sunday?
Keuchel looking to pitch deeper into gamesThe White Sox are scheduled to hand the ball to left-hander Dallas Keuchel for his fourth start of the season on Sunday. The 33-year-old is 0-0 with a 6.43 ERA but has nearly as many walks (seven) as strikeouts (nine) so far this season. Keuchel has yet to work past the fifth inning in any of his three starts and he’s given up at least three earned runs on every occasion. In his previous outing, he limited the Cleveland Indians to just three runs on three hits in five innings of work.
Dallas Keuchel looks real good in White Sox colors 🤩 pic.twitter.com/Tlmmx2KHn7— Mike (@ChiSoxFanMike) February 16, 2020
After posting a 6-2 record and 1.99 ERA in his first season in Chicago, Keuchel hasn’t been able to replicate that success in the early part of the season. Part of the reason for that is the fact that he has stranded up 49.5 percent of his baserunners while allowing a home run per fly ball rate of 22.2 percent. With both of those numbers likely to regress back towards his career averages, Keuchel should be able to improve on his ERA despite ugly peripherals so far this season.
Keuchel has had his fair share of struggles versus the Red Sox over the years. In four career games (three starts) versus Boston, Keuchel is 0-1 with an unsightly 9.15 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in 19 ⅔ combined frames. According to Baseball Savant, current Red Sox hitters are batting just .196 off of the White Sox lefty heading into Sunday’s matchup.
Perez still seeking first win at Fenway as member of Red SoxThe Red Sox have been one of the MLB’s most dangerous offenses in the early part of the season. Boston ranks third in the league with 75 runs in 13 games and it sports a .273 team batting average, good for second in the MLB.
Red Sox just got themselves a heck of a cutter.— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) December 13, 2019
Martin Perez -@MartinPerez33D- introduced the pitch last year and man was it effective for him:
.255 xwOBA (1st among cutters)
.270 wOBA (5th)
11% SwSt (12th) pic.twitter.com/aUNOmsw84b
Edit:Perez will now start Game 2 of the doubleheader
Boston will counter with right-hander Tanner Houck for his second start of the year. The 24-year-old has made one start and one appearance out of the bullpen this season. He comes in with a 0-1 overall record to go along with a 3.00 ERA in two games and performed well in his first start of the season. Houck allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings against the Baltimore Orioles, striking out eight batters and walking none in a tough-luck loss.
This will be Houck’s first career start against the White Sox and just his third career start at Fenway Park. He is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in three games (two starts) at home over the last two seasons.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The White Sox offense hasn’t been as potent as advertised yet this season. While it ranks eighth in the league in runs scored, Chicago ranks in the middle of the pack in team batting, home runs, and OPS so far this season. These two starters aren’t very far off from one another either. Keuchel has been far from impressive on the mound in his second season with the White Sox and he’s struggled against the Red Sox throughout his career. Take Boston to come out on top at home in the first game of this doubleheader on Sunday.
Full-Game Total Pick
It’s hard not to like the over in this game, especially with the way these two starters have opened the year. Neither Keuchel nor Houck has worked more than five innings yet this season. That’s not going to be good news for the White Sox, whose bullpen ranks 18th in the MLB with a combined 4.20 ERA. Expect both bullpens to get plenty of action in this game and take the first game of the doubleheader to go over the projected total on Sunday afternoon.