For the second contest in a four-game tilt, the Houston Astros will enter Guaranteed Rate Field for a matchup with the Chicago White Sox.
Barring a meeting in the playoffs, this series will be the last time these two clubs see each other this season.
First Place in the American League West
The Astros (75-42) hold a very firm grip in first place in the American League West. Houston has a dozen-game lead on the Seattle Mariners, and it doesn’t appear that being on the road will affect that. The Astros have the most away victories (36) in the AL.
However, they did have a four-game winning surge halted against the Southsiders on Monday night. Chicago (60-56) now rides a winning streak of the same length.
In the tightest divisional race in the Junior Circuit, the White Sox are tied with Minnesota, two games behind Cleveland in the AL Central standings. Both teams are the same number of games away from a Wild Card spot.
If Chicago wants to keep pace, it will have to keep performing well against the best team, record-wise, in the AL. It also depends on which team shows up. The White Sox are a .500 team in front of a home crowd this year.
Chicago’s Dominant Offensive
First baseman Jose Abreu has been Chicago’s dominant offensive force, as he paces the order with a .303 batting average and a .379 on-base percentage.
He also leads the White Sox with 14 home runs. Only two other players on the team — designated hitter Andrew Vaughn and center fielder Luis Robert — have double-digit dingers.
Vaughn also has the most RBIs of anyone in the lineup (58), with Abreu and Robert following closely behind.
White Sox vs. Astros Odds
MLB odds today favor the visiting squad. Houston is -1.5 on the run line at +136, while the White Sox are -164 to cover the spread. On the moneyline, the Astros are -126 and Chicago a +108 underdog.
The total has been set at seven runs, with the over being -114 and the under -106 at the time of this writing. Houston’s power numbers are leaps and bounds better than the White Sox’s.
Eight Different Astros
Eight different Astros have clubbed at least ten long balls, led by designated hitter Yordan Alvarez’s 31. Right fielder Kyle Tucker (21) and second baseman Jose Altuve (19) follow.
Alvarez is also hitting .296 and has a .400 on-base percentage. Tucker has a team-best 76 runs driven in. As a team, the Astros have swung for a .243 average to this point in the campaign.
Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros Betting Preview
Looking to help Houston get back on track quickly will be one of the most revered pitchers of this generation.
At 39 years old, it doesn’t appear that Justin Verlander has slowed down at all. He has 15 wins, the most in the major leagues at this juncture. His 1.85 ERA and 0.86 WHIP are both the best in the bigs.
The Astros have hardly come up short with him on the mound. In a rare case, they lost his last time out, on Wednesday against Texas Rangers.
In that start, Verlander went six frames, allowing five hits and three earned runs. He’s only allowed more than three earned runs in a game twice this campaign. On eight occasions, he’s blanked an opponent.
The hosts will also offer up a very capable hurler in right-hander Dylan Cease. He has a 12-5 mark in 2022, along with a 1.96 ERA and 174 strikeouts, both of which rank third in MLB.
Chicago White Sox has won five of his previous six starts, the only loss coming to Kansas City on Thursday. He lasted six innings against the Royals in that one, giving up three base knocks and a single earned run. Cease also piled up eight K’s.
If there’s anyone the White Sox wants opposing Verlander, it has to be Cease. Not many can match up with the future Hall of Famer.
Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros Picks and Predictions
Obviously, this one will come down to whichever starting pitcher can be more stingy. Both have shown a great ability to silence opponents’ offenses.
It’s easier to trust Houston’s order to break through, being that it has so many contributors. The Southsiders have a few key contributors, namely Abreu and Vaughn, but will need others to step up if they want to win a second in a row.
Who to Bet On?
Take Verlander and the Astros to continue their success and cover in this contest. They’re rolling toward the postseason and figure to be a hard out. That doesn’t bode well for Chicago.
MLB Pick: Astros -1.5 (2.50)