Chicago will wrap up its three-game series in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon. The White Sox got off to a slow start in the series, as the Guardians picked up a 5-2 win on Friday. This story was published prior to Saturday night’s contest, which was the second game of the series.
Cease looking to bounce backChicago has been a streaky team over the past week, as it won five straight games before losing its next three. The White Sox entered Saturday’s slate just two games above the .500 mark after dropping a pair of games against Houston along with Friday’s series opener in Cleveland. They will play a makeup game in Kansas City on Monday before traveling to Baltimore for three games. Chicago is still in contention in the American League Central, trailing Cleveland by 3.5 games in the division standings. The White Sox are also three games back of Tampa Bay for the final AL Wild Card spot.
They have been relying on their offense throughout the season, as they rank third in the MLB in batting average (.260). First baseman Jose Abreu leads the way with 139 hits and a .308 average—he has also hit a team-high 14 home runs. Chicago is currently without several key players (Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert) due to injuries. The White Sox are facing a Cleveland pitching staff that ranks ninth in the majors with an ERA of 3.78. Right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease is going to be on the mound for Chicago on Sunday. He allowed three runs on six hits and three walks across five innings against Houston on Tuesday. Cease had allowed one run or fewer in 14 straight starts prior to that outing, so he still has a 2.09 ERA in 133.2 innings this season.
Guardians looking to remain in first placeOutside of two disappointing losses to Detroit earlier this week, Cleveland has been able to take advantage of a favorable schedule over the past two weeks. The Guardians rattled off five consecutive wins over Houston and Detroit before winning a series in Toronto. They split their four-game series with the Tigers before winning Friday’s series opener. Cleveland is holding off the competition in the AL Central, leading Minnesota by one game and Chicago by 3.5 games in the standings. The Guardians have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, while everyone else in the division has been 5-5 or worse during that stretch.
They have been a solid offensive team as well, ranked eighth in the majors in batting average (.253). Shortstop Amed Rosario leads the way with 133 hits, while third baseman Jose Ramirez has 125 hits. Ramirez has a team-best 23 home runs and 99 RBIs. They will be facing a Chicago pitching staff that is No. 19 with an ERA of 4.01. Right-hander Aaron Civale is going to be on the bump for Cleveland on Sunday. He allowed one run on three hits and one walk while striking out 10 across six innings on Monday. Civale has allowed just four runs and struck out 21 over his last four appearances. He has still not won a game since May 20 against Detroit, though.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Chicago is essentially in a must-win situation in this game if it wants to climb back into contention in the AL Central. The White Sox have the right starting pitcher on the mound to make that happen on Sunday. Prior to his last outing, Cease had gone 14 consecutive starts without allowing multiple runs. He has not only been the most consistent starter in the American League, but he has been one of the best overall. Civale, meanwhile, has not picked up a win since May 20. I cannot fade Cease in this game, as I expect him to show up and lead his team to a victory.
Full-Game Total Pick
This is another opportunity to back Cease, but there are some additional factors that make the under an even stronger bet than Chicago to win the game. Cease is dominant and is not going to allow more than one run in all likelihood. He is probably not going to get much run support either, though. The White Sox are missing three key players from their lineup due to injuries, leaving them in a tough spot. Their offense ranks among the best in the majors, but that is not quite the case with those injuries. Civale has only allowed four runs in his last four starts, making the under look like an attractive wager.