Chicago White Sox (87-67) vs. Cleveland Indians (75-78)
The Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians complete a five-game series on Sunday. Chicago has won two of the first three contests between these teams, including a 1-0 victory on Friday. These teams played on Saturday, but this preview was written prior to the conclusion of that contest.
These teams have been evenly matched against each other this season. The White Sox hold the advantage at 8-7 through the first 15 meetings.
White Sox Looking to Catch AstrosWith the division title already secure, Chicago sets their sights on the Houston Astros, who are currently four games ahead of them for second place in the American League. The White Sox will be looking to try to have home-field advantage for that first series, but a 4-6 record over their last 10 has not helped them. However, after completing their series with Cleveland on Sunday, they travel to take on the Tigers in Detroit for one game on Monday, then have five games at home, a place where they have gone 49-27 this season. Securing home-field advantage is a major priority as the White Sox are just 38-40 on the road.
A.L. CENTRAL CHAMPS!— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 23, 2021
The White Sox capture their first American League Central title since 2008. pic.twitter.com/5TkgKN3zIy
Chicago is seventh in runs per game (4.90) and fourth in runs allowed per contest (3.96). They are sixth in run differential at +0.95. The White Sox have one of the better lineups in baseball, fifth in batting average (.255) and 20th in home runs per game (1.16).
Chicago will start right-hander Lucas Giolito. Giolito is 10-9 with a 3.70 ERA in 29 starts. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts this month. He allowed three runs in four innings to the Angels on September 14, but just one run in 5.1 innings to Texas in his last start.
Chicago is led by MVP candidate José Abreu, who has 29 home runs and 113 RBI. Tim Anderson leads the team in hitting at .305. The White Sox are hitting .249 and averaging 5.08 runs per nine innings against right-handers.
Indians Look to Finish StrongWith the Indians eliminated from playoff contention, the team sets their sights on finishing strong. After completing this series with the White Sox, Cleveland plays four with the Royals and three with the Rangers to close out the year. This is a golden opportunity for the team to get above .500 to finish the season.
Cleveland is 19th in runs per game (4.37) and 15th in runs allowed per contest (4.50). The Indians are 16th in run differential at -0.13. The offense has struggled, 23rd in hitting (.237) but 12th in home runs per game (1.28).
Cleveland will start right-hander Triston McKenzie. McKenzie is 5-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 23 appearances, 22 of which have been starts. The right-hander has had a solid September, going 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in four starts. He has allowed 10 runs and 22.1 innings, striking out 24. In his last outing, McKenzie was shelled for seven runs in 4.1 innings by Kansas City but allowed one run in each of his four previous starts.
The Indians are led by José Ramirez with 35 homers and 96 RBI. Franimil Reyes has 30 homers and 80 runs driven in. Cleveland is hitting .232 and averaging 4.5 runs per nine innings against right-handers.
Chicago White Sox:
- 3-7 in their last 10 games against AL Central teams
- 6-1 in their last seven games on a Sunday.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Despite the fact that Chicago has a significantly better record, these teams have played evenly matched all season long. Plus, the White Sox are 11-23 in the last 34 meetings between these teams in Cleveland.
One may think that the Indians have little to play for here, but if they can string together seven straight victories, they assure themselves of a winning record. Hurting the White Sox chances to improve their playoff position while improving their own chances at a positive mark will be enough incentive for them to get the victory. Plus, if you take away the most recent performance of McKenzie, he has been spectacular of late.
Full-Game Total Pick
These teams have gone over in five of the last seven meetings overall, including six of the last eight in Cleveland. However, I ignore those trends.
These are two of the best teams in baseball during September in terms of ERA. Chicago is fourth overall (3.74) while Cleveland is 13th (4.17). Plus, these are two of the worst run producing teams during the month, as Cleveland has scored 93 runs in 24 games while Chicago has 87 runs in 21 contests.
Take Cleveland to win, 4-3.