The Chicago White Sox take a brief respite from American League play, as they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds in an interleague game on Tuesday evening. The whole two-game series will take place in about a 21-hour time span, as the two teams play again Wednesday afternoon at 12:35. The White Sox are coming off a 5-0 shutout loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon, as they lost two of three to the Tribe over the weekend. The Reds, on the other hand, are coming off possibly the wildest game of the baseball season, winning 13-12 in 10 innings over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Cincinnati won two out of three games to the Cubs over the weekend.
Injury bug strikes White Sox outfield againIt must have felt like deja vu all over again for the Chicago White Sox and their fans on Sunday afternoon. Luis Robert, who is second on the team with a .316 batting average and an .822 OPS, had to exit Sunday's game in the first inning after straining his right hip flexor while beating out an infield single. Robert is the third key member of last season's outfield to go down with an injury. Outfielders Eloy Jiminez (ruptured pectoral tendon) and Adam Engel (strained hamstring) have both been on the injured list for the entire season so far. The loss of Robert will have a trickle-down effect on Chicago's entire offense. He can bat anywhere in the lineup (he batted seventh, sixth, and second just in their three-game series with Cleveland), and he has been more than adequate in protecting veteran leadoff man Tim Anderson, as well as the slugging Rookie of the Year candidate Yermin Mercedes. If Robert is absent for much longer than the required 10 days, Chicago's offense may suffer going forward.
After Robert's first-inning single, the White Sox could manage just three more hits in their loss to Cleveland on Sunday. Only two of their four hits in the game reached the outfield. Rookie Andrew Vaughn had a pair of hits for Chicago to raise his season batting average to .275. The White Sox gave up single runs in the third and fourth innings before Cleveland put up a three-spot in the seventh inning to put the game away. Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito had his best start in nearly three weeks, as he limited the Indians to just one earned run on five hits in 5.1 innings after giving up 11 earned runs in 7.2 innings in his last two starts.
“I think it’s just a matter of getting my rhythm and smoothness in my delivery a little more consistent and I’ll be fine,” Giolito said on espn.com.
Mercedes, who was scratched from the starting lineup Sunday after showing up to the game late, is still hitting a blistering .395 this season, which is third-best in the majors, while he has a 1.063 OPS, which ranks eighth in the big leagues. Jose Abreu is batting just .202 this season, but he leads the team with 19 RBI and is tied with Mercedes with five home runs. Nick Madrigal is batting .313 for the Sox this season. Chicago's offense is ranked in the top 10 in the Major Leagues in batting average (third--.257), on base percentage (second--.340), and OPS (eighth--.733). They are averaging less than one home run per game, however, as they are 26th in baseball with 24 home runs in 27 games this season. The White Sox have one of the better pitching staffs in the Major Leagues this season, as they rank eighth with a 3.62 ERA this season. Their bullpen has been a problem for Chicago this season, as their relievers have a 4.72 ERA compared to 3.07 for the starters.
Dylan Cease will go to the hill on Tuesday evening for the White Sox. He has had a fabulous season so far, posting a 1-0 record with a 2.96 ERA. He got his first win of the season in his last start, which was a seven-inning, complete-game shutout in game two of a doubleheader versus the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. Cease gave up just three hits and struck out a season-high nine batters in the 11-0 win. It was the first time that he had pitched at least five innings this season. Cease has given up just five earned runs in his last four starts. Opposing batters are hitting .239 against the third-year pitcher this season. Cease has faced the Reds just once in his young career, giving up three runs in three innings in a loss last season for a 9.00 ERA.
Reds look to continue momentum from wild winSunday's win for the Reds over the Cubs featured a little bit of everything. There were five ties and three lead changes, 39 total players used, 15 pitchers, 25 runs scored, and 30 hits between the two teams. There were only two innings that saw zeros in both halves of the inning, the fourth and the ninth. There were also 10 home runs, five for each team, in the game. With all the scoring and an extra-inning, the game lasted less than four hours. Nick Castellanos was the hitting star for Cincinnati, collecting five hits, including two home runs, and driving in the game-winner, his fourth RBI of the game, in the bottom of the 10th inning. Casrellanos' 5-6 performance raised his average to .330 for the season. He and Jesse Winker scored four runs apiece, while Eugenio Suarez had three hits, including his fifth home run of the season. The Reds had four multi-run innings in the game.
“It is always great to win a game like that," Reds manager David Bell said on espn.com. "Even when you don’t know how it is going to turn out, it is fun to watch two good teams going at it. It is easy to feel that way when you win, but you have to enjoy a game like this.”
Sunday's win was Cincinnati's fourth in their last six games, as they have scored at least five runs in each of those four wins. The Reds had lost seven straight games before that. Castellanos is chasing something that no Reds player has done since I was three years old (or 1977, for those of you keeping score at home). He is on pace for over 200 hits this season (210 to be exact), a feat that hasn't been done in Cincinnati since Pete Rose had 204 hits in that 1977 season. Castellanos has 35 hits in 27 games this season, while he leads the league in home runs (nine) and total bases (70). If the Reds can have a playoff season (or close to it), Castellanos should be one of the finalists for the NL MVP Award this season.
Castellanos also leads the team in RBI with 20, which is 15th in the majors, and he is second on the team with a 1.026 OPS. Winker has the fourth-best batting average in the Major Leagues at .365 and the seventh-best OPS at 1.078. The Reds have a top-five offense in almost every category. They are first in home runs (43) and OPS (.780), third in on-base percentage (.329), and fourth in batting average (.253). Cincinnati has a losing record mainly based on their pitching staff, who has a 4.97 ERA this season, fourth-worst in the majors. The Reds have had an atrocious bullpen this season, as they have a 6.35 ERA in 96.1 innings pitched.
Jeff Hoffman pitches the series opener on Tuesday night for Cincinnati. He is 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA in five starts this season. He is coming off a four-inning stint in which he gave up just one hit, but he gave up five walks and three earned runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. Opposing batters are hitting .236 against Hoffman this season, but he has a 19:12 K/BB ratio. Hoffman has faced the White Sox once in his career. He is 0-0 with a 5.14 ERA in seven innings pitched.
- The White Sox are 9-4 in their last 13 games overall
- The White Sox are 14-6 in their last 20 games versus Cincinnati.
Trend found on oddsshark.com:
- The Reds are 4-9 in their last 13 games overall
- The Reds are 5-10 in their last 15 home games versus the Chicago White Sox
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Chicago White Sox may be without one of their top hitters (Robert) in this game, but they have owned the Cincinnati Reds over the last several seasons, winning 14 of the last 20 meetings between the teams. The Reds scored 13 runs in their last game, but they averaged just 3.2 runs per game in their previous seven games. The White Sox have the better pitching staff in this game. Dylan Cease is coming off his best and longest start of the season, and he will slow down the Cincinnati offense in this game. Chicago also has the better bullpen in this game, so look for the White Sox to capture game one on Tuesday.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams have horrible bullpens, so once the starters depart this game, the offenses will take over. Cincinnati has one of the best offenses in the majors, while the White Sox are in the top 10 in most offensive categories. Both teams are averaging 5.0 runs per game or more this season. The total has gone over in 19 of Cincinnati's 27 games this season, including five of their last six games. Chicago has scored at least seven runs in five of the last 10 games, while the Reds have scored at least five runs in five of their last 10 games. There was a total of 10 home runs in Cincinnati's last game. Look for another high-scoring game on Tuesday night.