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Neither team has anything occupying their October this year. The Chicago White Sox (57-93) and Washington Nationals (66-84) are playing for pride right now. Everyone else in the organization is seeking ways to make 2024 more fulfilling. Their paths converge for a late-season Interleague series, beginning on Monday. Nationals Park will host, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EDT. These teams haven't met since 2019, a year that ended much better for each franchise. Let's see if any 2019 magic will rub off on either dugout this week, starting with game one.
2023 White Sox Aren't WinnersSo, may as well consider them whiners. This season went wrong in almost every imaginable way for the White Sox. A massive trade deadline firesale has the team looking different these days, but the results are usually the same as before. Even when Mike Clevinger pitches, despite him having solid pitching numbers for the club. He brings a 3.61 ERA and 1.230 WHIP to the table for the South Siders. Clevinger has also thrown 14.0 consecutive scoreless innings on the road. He can't help a weak bullpen blowing the game afterward, but the bulk of Chicago's performance hinges on his right arm.
He also can't score runs, which the White Sox (like most of the AL Central) struggle with. Only two teams are averaging fewer runs per game than Chicago's AL franchise in 2023. It starts with MLB's lowest walk rate and OBP. From there, the team is only 26th in slugging percentage, 24th in batting average, and 23rd in stolen bases. They also rank 22nd in strikeout rate. Chicago may have plenty of recognizable names, but it hasn't amounted to much. This offense isn't one to trust.
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Losing Streak OverIt had run up to five straight losses, but the losing streak for the Nationals is finally over. Superb pitching got the job done on Sunday, and Washington will try to keep it going with Joan Adon on Monday. The young righty only has 38.0 innings under his belt this season, and they've been ugly. Especially at home, where Adon has surrendered 18 runs in 20.0 innings of work. His 5.08 FIP and 73 ERA+ are far from confidence-inspiring. Considering the quality of the Nationals' bullpen, they need him to deliver anyway.
Getting runs out of an offense that's 22nd in scoring average would help a lot too. A .263/.320/.399 slash line at home (all improved numbers than on the road) is a nice place to start. Washington has MLB's second-lowest strikeout rate and it leads to a .253 team average (12th). They also have 112 stolen bases to put pressure on opposing defenses. However, there isn't much else that the Nats do well. This lineup ranks 29th in homers, 27th in walk rate, 23rd in slugging percentage, and 22nd in OBP. In the nation's capital, there's either a hit parade or a sleepy nine innings.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Based on starting pitching alone, this is Chicago's game to lose. Each team has an awful bullpen that can't be trusted in close games. Both dugouts have an offense barely scratching four runs across the plate on an average night. Mike Clevinger vs. Joan Adon will determine this.
In the visiting corner is Clevinger, with a 3.65 road ERA and decent numbers across the board. For the home team, Joan Adon will bring his 8.10 home ERA to the mound. Adon has seldom shown the ability to keep opponents from scoring, while Clevinger can hold his own on most nights. Behind their experienced right-hander, the White Sox will narrowly win.
Full-Game Total Pick
The White Sox come into this game averaging 4.08 runs per game, a number beating only two teams. Washington isn't much better, ranking 22nd with 4.27 per contest. These teams combined for two runs on Sunday before catching their respective flights to D.C.
Don't trust either lineup in this game. Both teams are in the bottom five league-wide for September scoring. Mike Clevinger is an above-average pitcher (124 ERA+) capable of shutting Washington down. Granted, it's not like they need much help. Fade the offenses in this game completely.