Chicago White Sox (60-90 SU, 79-71 RL, 71-73-6 O/U) vs. Houston Astros (92-58 SU, 79-71 RL, 75-66-9 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, September 21, 2017, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas, 8:10 pm ET
Lines: Houston -292, Chicago +262; Over/Under: 8.5
It’s the finale of a showdown in the Lone Star State between a basement resident and a playoff team. The Chicago White Sox close a three game series on the road against the Houston Astros Thursday night. Houston took a 3-1 victory in the opening game of the series Tuesday night. The pitching matchup for Wednesday night’s middle game saw James Shields take the hill for the White Sox against the Astros’ Brad Peacock. First pitch in the contest was set for 8:10 pm ET.
Chicago White Sox Try to Slow Astros
Chicago dropped their second straight as they couldn’t muster much in the way of offense in the opener. The White Sox remain 1.5 games behind the Tigers for fourth place in the AL Central entering Wednesday. Yoan Moncada (run) had three of the White Sox’s six hits in the contest. Jose Abreu had the RBI for the White Sox, his 98th of the season. Lucas Giolito (2-3) was the tough luck loser as Chicago’s bats couldn’t get things going: he allowed two runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts over 6.2 innings.
Carson Fulmer is on the mound for his sixth appearance and fourth start of the season for the White Sox here. He is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA, a 1.222 WHIP, nine walks and 17 strikeouts over 18 innings at the major league level this season. Fulmer recorded a no-decision in his last outing, which was a start on the road against the Tigers Friday. He threw six innings, allowing one run on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts in a 3-2 Chicago defeat. Fulmer is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP, seven walks and 14 strikeouts over 13.1 innings in his last three starts. In his 14th major league appearance and fourth start, he faces the Astros and pitches at Minute Maid Park for the first time in his career. Fulmer made 24 starts for Triple-A Charlotte of the International League this season and had his struggles. He was 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA, a 1.557 WHIP, 63 walks and 95 strikeouts over 122 innings of work this season.
Houston Astros Look to Catch Indians for AL’s Top Record
Houston won their fifth straight by shutting down the White Sox in the opening game of the set Tuesday. The Astros entered Wednesday 1.5 games behind the Indians for the top record in the AL and home field advantage in the playoffs. Josh Reddick and Yuli Guerriel each had two hits for Houston while Jose Altuve cranked his 24th homer of the season. Collin McHugh (3-2) picked up the win as he threw five innings: he allowed one run on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Ken Giles struck out the side in the ninth to record his 32nd save of the season.
Dallas Keuchel makes his 22nd start of the year for the Astros in this contest, looking to help Houston chase the Indians. He is 13-4 with a 2.96 ERA, a 1.115 WHIP with 43 walks and 110 strikeouts over 133.2 innings so far this year. Keuchel picked up the victory in his last start, which came at home against the Mariners Saturday night. He threw six innings, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in an 8-6 Astros win. Keuchel is 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, eight walks and 13 strikeouts over 19.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his seventh career start against the White Sox in this contest. He is 2-3 with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP over 37.2 innings of work against them. Keuchel is 36-19 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.119 WHIP over 79 appearances, 73 starts, totaling 505 innings at Minute Maid Park in his career.
- White Sox are 2-8 in their last 10 road games vs. a left-handed starter
- White Sox are 2-8 in their last 10 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15
- White Sox are 1-9 in their last 10 games after losing the first 2 games of a series
- Astros are 5-0 in their last 5 games vs. a right-handed starter
- Astros are 5-0 in their last 5 games on grass
- Astros are 8-0 in their last 8 home games
Talk about polar opposites on the field: the White Sox are the worst team in the American League while the Astros are chasing the best record. Houston plays extremely well at home and Keuchel is sharp at Minute Maid Park. Fulmer has been good in his last couple of outings but it’s tough to rely on a lot of young guys to put runs on the board. That’s where Chicago runs into trouble. Houston has a powerful lineup and great pitching: it adds up to a win in the series finale for the hosts.