Chicago will wrap up its three-game series in Minnesota on Thursday afternoon. The White Sox lost the first game of the series, extending their losing streak to seven games. This story was published prior to Wednesday night’s game.
Giolito closing in on end of disappointing seasonChicago had World Series aspirations entering the season, but it will not even be in the playoff field. The White Sox have been unable to play consistently winning baseball this year, going through multiple losing stretches. They are amid another one of those right now, having lost seven consecutive games heading into Wednesday’s contest. Chicago was swept by Cleveland and Detroit last week before losing Tuesday’s series opener. The White Sox are 7.5 games back of the final American League Wild Card spot and will be officially eliminated from contention in the coming days.
Their offense has been their strength this season, as they rank fifth in the majors in batting average (.258). First baseman Jose Abreu leads the way with 176 hits, as he is hitting at a .303 clip and has driven in 73 runs. He will be facing a Minnesota pitching staff that is No. 19 with an ERA of 4.03. Right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito is going to start for Chicago on Thursday afternoon. He allowed three runs on six hits in six innings against Detroit last Friday, striking out nine. Giolito has not lived up to expectations this season, with his ERA dipping to 5.05 after that outing.
Varland making fourth career startMinnesota held the AL Central lead several times this season, but it has not been playing good enough baseball since the All-Star break. The Twins have gone on seven different losing streaks of at least three games each since the beginning of August, including a five-game skid last week. They dropped four out of five games in a series in Cleveland before getting swept by Kansas City. Minnesota lost two out of three against the Angels over the weekend and will be playing its final home game of the season on Thursday. The Twins are a game back of the White Sox and are also about to be eliminated from the playoff race.
Their offense ranks No. 12 in the majors in batting average, hitting at a .248 clip. First baseman Luis Arraez leads the team with 165 hits, while center fielder Byron Buxton has hit a team-high 28 home runs, but Buxton is on the injured list. They are facing a Chicago pitching staff that is No. 13 with an ERA of 3.91. Right-hander Louie Varland is going to start for Minnesota on Thursday. He was called up from the minors last week, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and a walk across 5.2 innings against the Angels on Friday. Varland was one out away from his first career quality start—he has a 5.05 ERA in his three big-league appearances.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams have been in terrible form and are not going to be participating in the playoffs this year, which makes it difficult to pick a winner on Thursday afternoon. However, I think the Twins have a hidden motivational edge due to the starting pitching matchup. Varland is making just the fourth start of his MLB career, so there is plenty of future money at stake for him in this game. Meanwhile, Giolito is wrapping up a disappointing season and is just ready for the offseason at this point. The Twins have won seven of their last 10 home games against Chicago and I expect them to add another win on Thursday.
Full-Game Total Pick
These teams have both ultimately been let down by their pitching this season, so I am going to back the over in Thursday’s meeting. Giolito has not been able to maintain any sort of consistency in 2022 and is facing a solid Minnesota lineup. Varland is tougher to handicap in just his fourth big-league start, but he has posted a 5.05 ERA in his first three appearances. Chicago still ranks inside the top five in the majors in batting average, so the White Sox are not an offense I want to fade when it comes to the total. They have gone over in five of their last seven games as favorites.