Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#965 Chicago White Sox 9 vs.
#966 Minnesota Twins -190
Friday, May 24, 2019 at 8:10pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Chicago White Sox will open a three-game American League Central battle versus the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Friday night.

The White Sox enter with some confidence after salvaging a four-game series split versus the Houston Astros. Chicago won each of the final two games to claw their way back towards the .500-mark. The White Sox are just three-games below .500 at the moment with a 23-26 overall record, but they are 10 games back of the Twins in the AL Central race. Can Chicago cut into its deficit in the division with a successful weekend series versus the first place Twins?

Jimenez catching fire at the plate after IL stint

The White Sox welcomed back rookie outfielder Eloy Jimenez earlier this week for their series against the Astros after missing nearly a month on the injured list. Jimenez went 0-for-7 during his first two games back off of the IL, but he appears to be heating up in a hurry at the plate. The 22-year-old slugger proceeded to launch three home runs over his next two games, bringing his season total to six in just 94 at-bats this year.

Chicago is scheduled to turn to emerging young right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who has flashed signs of brilliance during an up-and-down campaign. He’s been lights out as of late, tossing quality starts in six of his last seven outings, including each of his last three trips to the mound. He owns a 2.28 ERA over his last three outings, but Lopez enters with a 3-4 record and a 5.13 ERA in 10 starts this season.

The 25-year-old made four starts versus the Twins in 2018, compiling a 1-1 record and a 3.46 ERA in 26 combined frames. According to Baseball Savant, he’s managed to limit Twins hitters to an invisible 0.098 batting average in 98 plate appearances. StatCast projects Minnesota for an expected batting average of .176 and an expected slugging percentage of .407 off of Lopez heading into Friday’s matchup.

Berrios developing into ace for Twins

The Twins have slugged their way to the best record in the big leagues and they are hitting home runs at a record-breaking clip. They are currently on pace for 324 home runs, which would shatter the single-season record of 267 set a year ago by the New York Yankees.

Right-handed ace Jose Berrios will toe the rubber for the AL Central-leading Twins in Game 1 versus the White Sox on Friday. Berrios enters with a 6-2 overall record to go along with a 3.39 ERA in 10 starts this season. The 24-year-old has shown a penchant for pitching deep into games this season, opening the year with eight consecutive outings of six innings of work or more. Berrios pitched into the seventh or later on five of those occasions, but he’s failed to complete six frames in each of his last two starts.

Berrios was spectacular versus Chicago in 2018, going 4-0 with a 2.12 ERA in five outings versus the division-rival White Sox. He is 7-1 with a 2.12 career ERA in nine starts against them dating back to 2016.

According to Baseball Savant, Berrios has held the current White Sox roster to a slim batting average of just .197 in 125 plate appearances. StatCast data projects Chicago hitters for an expected batting average of .205 and an expected slugging percentage of .379 off of Berrios heading into Friday’s start.

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Berrios’ career numbers versus the White Sox are absolutely ridiculous, so it is hard to go against him here. The Twins have won his last six starts against Chicago and each of his last five home starts versus the White Sox. Minnesota is hitting home runs at an obscene pace right now and they are fresh off of drubbing the Angels for 16 runs on Thursday. Take the Twins to stay hot at home in this AL Central showdown on Friday night.

Prediction: Minnesota Twins -1.5

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Runs are going to be hard to come by in this game. The StatCast projections have both teams hitting around .200 against the opposing starter coming into this game. Lopez has limited current Twins hitters to a .098 batting average in 98 plate appearances, while White Sox hitters are batting just .197 in 125 plate appearances versus Berrios heading into this matchup. Take this game to stay under the projected total at Target Field on Friday.

Prediction: Under 9

Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits.