Indians Take On the White Sox as MLB Betting Favorites

Posted by Michael Hunt on Friday,April 21, 2017 9:20, EDT in

The Cleveland Indians were heavy preseason favorites to repeat in the AL Central. They got off to a bit of a slow start but are starting to play to expectations. The Tribe play Game 2 of a three-game AL Central series on the South Side of Chicago on Saturday. Let’s take a look at this MLB betting preview.

Indians at White Sox MLB Betting Preview & TV Info

When: Saturday, April 22, 7:10 PM ET
Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago
Probable pitchers (away/home): Carlos Carrasco/James Shields
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioCleveland / Chicago
Opening MLB Lines: Indians favored by TBA

Why Bet On Cleveland?

The Tribe are expected to activate second baseman Jason Kipnis off the DL for this series. The assumption is that 3B Yandy Diaz will be optioned to Columbus, and Jose Ramirez will re-assume his post at the hot corner, and Kipnis will reclaim his spot at second.

Kipnis opened this season on the disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff. During his rehab assignment at Akron, he was hit on the left hand by a pitch from former Tribe prospect Justus Sheffield and his rehab was delayed for a couple of days. Kipnis, who lives in Chicago, is a .305 (54-for- 177) hitter with five home runs and seven RBI at U.S. Cellular Field in his career. He’s played 46 games there.

Kipnis is coming off a strong 2016 season. He batted .275 with 23 homers and 82 RBIs in a career-high 156 games. He batted .290 in the World Series and homered twice as the Indians lost in seven games to the Cubs.

It’s right-hander Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 2.33) on the mound for the Tribe. Carrasco took the loss Sunday against the Tigers, allowing two runs on four hits and five walks across 6.2 innings. He struck out five. Carrasco struggled with his command at times, issuing five walks for the first time in his nine-year big league career. He still battled into the seventh inning and was only breached by a two-run homer from Alex Avila in the second. Control issues have not been a problem at all for Carrasco, who had issued just one free pass in 2017 prior to Sunday.

After logging at least 6.0 frames just once the first turn through (e.g. club’s first 5 games), Cleveland’s rotation has tossed at least 6.0 innings in 4 straight and 7 of the last 9 starts. Tribe starters have 78.1 innings overall this season, 3rd-fewest in the A.L., while carrying the highest ERA in the league at 5.86.

Why Bet On Chicago?

Similar to last April, the White Sox bullpen is off to a scorching start with a 1.41 earned-run average through 14 games, third-best in the majors. Over 44 2/3 innings, White Sox relievers have struck out 54 batters. Considered readily available on the trade block, David Robertson has converted all four save chances this season and struck out 11 batters in 5 2/3 innings.

Despite ranking 13th in the American League in runs scored, the White Sox have played .500 baseball because of their dominant bullpen. The White Sox have limited opponents to a .144 (14-97) average with RISP in 2017, the lowest mark in the major leagues.

Outfielder Avisail Garcia is off to a huge start. The 6-foot- 4 Venezuelan who could pass for an NFL linebacker had let his weight balloon near 260 pounds. He started working out harder to shed the fat.

The biggest change came in his diet, which previously consisted of whatever Garcia wanted whenever he wanted it. He lost 20 pounds, now comfortably around 240. Garcia leads the American League in hits (22) and batting average (.423).

It’s James Shields for the Pale Hose. Shields (1-0, 1.62) is off to a great start after a terrible 2016. Shields has shown much better fastball command, and he has mixed speeds effectively through three starts. Shields still has walked 10 in 16 2/3 innings. But it could be a fluke. After losing 19 games last year and delivering a 5.85 ERA, it’s hard to trust anything he does. His BABIP is .150, way below average. Only 27.9% of the balls put in play against him are hit on the ground. He’s walking 5.4 guys per nine innings.

Shields is coming off two straight seasons as the league leader in home runs allowed. Last season he surrendered an amazing 40 bombs. One year earlier, it was 33 as a member of the San Diego Padres. He’s already well on his way to giving up just as many this year as his home run rate is higher than it was in 2015. Shields has survived his first three starts by pitching well with runners on base. The only three runs he has allowed were solo home runs, which also account for one-third of the hits against him.

Indians at White Sox MLB Betting Pick: Cleveland Indians

Shields has a 4.26 ERA over 26 home starts at Guaranteed Rate Field.