Two teams with very similar records will square off on Friday. One of them was expected to struggle this season, while the other team is the defending champions. On Friday, the Boston Red Sox (14-18) will take on the Chicago White Sox (14-15) at Guaranteed Rate Field in the second of a four-game series.
For the White Sox, there has been optimism around the play of some of their youth, especially Tim Anderson, who has taken a major step this season highlighted by a Player of the Month Award in the AL for April. For the Boston Red Sox, it has been the definition of a World Series hangover, as they are struggling to find any consistency and already find themselves 6.5 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. The starters for Friday’s matchup will feature Chris Sale (0-5, 6.30 ERA) for the Red Sox and Reynaldo Lopez (2-3, 6.03 ERA) for the White Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 pm ET.
The moneyline for Friday’s game is set at the Boston Red Sox -200 and the Chicago White Sox +170. The over/under for runs scored is set at 8.
Will The Real Chris Sale Please Stand Up?
In what has been a dreadful start, Thursday’s loss may be a great analogy for the Red Sox’s season. They seem like they are on the right track, taking a 4-3 lead into the 9th, only to blow it and lose 6-4. Struggles have come from all different areas, but the struggles of Chris Sale’s are certainly a major concern for the Red Sox.
For a pitcher who has been deemed a bonafide ace throughout his career, Sale is 0-5 with a 6.30 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and opponents are hitting .271 against him. In 30 innings, he has allowed 32 hits, 21 earned runs, a whopping 7 home runs and has struck out 32 versus 10 walks.
In his last outing, a 5-2 loss to the Rays, Sale went 7 innings, allowing 2 earned runs (4 runs total), 3 walks and a home run while striking out 8. While this is not an awful line, but it still is not translating to wins. For a pitcher that just signed a sizeable extension, this can’t be the start to the new contract that the Red Sox had envisioned.
On the offensive side, the Red Sox have had some decent hitters to date. J.D. Martinez continues to be strong at the plate, hitting .312/.387/.477 with 4 home runs, 15 runs batted in and 15 runs scored. Also, Mookie Betts has been pretty decent at .289/.394/.518 with 6 home runs, 16 runs batted in and 22 runs scored.
However, no one is quite having the dominant seasons that they were a year ago. Bogaerts is hitting just .271 while Benintendi is hitting just .264 with 2 home runs. Mitch Moreland is hitting a woeful .217, but it still isn’t as bad as Jackie Bradley Jr.’s .156. Needless to say, there is a lot of room for improvement in all areas of the Red Sox team right now.
A Lot To Look Forward To
While the White Sox will likely finish with a record that will see them fall short of the playoffs, there is certainly some optimism early on this season. Realistically, they are not expected to win, but the goal is to show progression, and that they have certainly done. This season was important for two players in particular, Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada, as they are on that borderline of being deemed busts, but they have certainly seized their opportunities this year and have White Sox fans begging for more.
For Anderson, he has started off the season hitting .365/.383/.587 with 6 home runs, 18 runs batted in and 21 runs scored. He is also a perfect 10 for 10 in stolen bases. While there is always going to be swing and miss to him (he has 21 strikeouts versus just 2 walks), he certainly has the skillset to be a staple of the White Sox for many years to come.
In terms of Moncada, one of the signature players that the White Sox received in the deal that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox, he has seemingly turned a corner, hitting .301/.368/.540 with 6 home runs, 20 runs batted in and 24 runs scored. Throw in players like Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez and White Sox have a reason to be optimistic.
While their offense is showing signs of life, the pitching still could use some boosting. The White Sox currently rank 28th in the major leagues in ERA at 5.36. One pitcher they would like to see show some more consistency is Reynaldo Lopez. On the season, the righty is 2-3 with a 6.03 ERA, 1.69 WHIP and opponents are hitting .288 against him.
In 31.1 innings, Lopez has allowed 36 hits, 21 earned runs, 7 home runs and has struck out 39 while walking 17. He did have a great game in his last outing, going 6 innings, allowing 2 hits and 0 earned runs (1 run total) while striking out 14 versus 3 walks. The biggest thing for Lopez now will be showing that he can do it consistently.
Taking The White Sox
This one is less about the teams and more about the odds available. It is hard to trust the Red Sox right now, especially with “ace” Chris Sale on the mound. While he is seen as the staple of their rotation, he has yet to have a great outing, and it is reflective in both his record and ERA. While there will be some extra incentive pitching against his old team, it is just hard to trust him right now.
While Reynaldo Lopez is not exactly the definition of reliable either, I have at least respected the way the Lopez and the rest of the White Sox have approached the season thus far. This one could really go either way, and for that reason, I am taking the team with the moneyline of +170, and that is the White Sox. The Red Sox are just too inconsistent to take at -200.