It’s a holiday week around Major League Baseball as Monday was Memorial Day in the United States. Normally, Monday’s are fairly quiet around MLB but every team was in action with series starting across the country. Here’s a look two interesting upcoming games. Check back Friday for a weekend preview and the latest MLB odds for the games.
Top MLB Betting Series of the Week (May 29-June 4)
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Boston Red Sox At Chicago White Sox
This series in itself isn’t all that interesting as the Red Sox are a much better team than the Pale Hose. But Tuesday’s mound matchup is quite intriguing because it’s the first time that Boston ace Chris Sale faces the White Sox since he was traded this offseason to Boston. The White Sox got a handful of prospects for Sale, none of whom have played in the majors with Chicago yet. The Red Sox are thrilled with the trade as Sale (5-2, 2.34) is a top Cy Young candidate. Last Wednesday actually was a disappointing outing for Sale in that he gave up four runs (three earned) over 7.1 innings in a win over the Rangers. Sale was trying to strike out at least 10 batters for a record ninth straight start but only fanned six. He still is the MLB leader in strikeouts by an enormous margin, as he has 101. In 117 career appearances at Guaranteed Rate Field, Sale is 42-24 with a 3.01 ERA.
The White Sox’s new ace is Jose Quintana, who might also be traded. Quintana (2-6, 4.82) isn’t downplaying what it will be like Tuesday to pitch against Sale at Guaranteed Rate Field. “Facing Saler is going to be awesome, big time,” Quintana said. “A big moment of the season. He was my teammate. It’s a different feeling but it’s good to face the best left-hander in the league. I’m excited and I think he’s excited, too. But my focus right now is to do my job. Do my work and do my thing and put us in a good position to win. That’s all I can do.”
Houston Astros At Minnesota Twins
Could this be a playoff preview? The Astros are running away with the AL West Division, while the Minnesota Twins are shocking leaders of the AL Central. The Astros currently lead the AL West Division by 10.0 games. It marks the first time the Astros have led their division by 10.0 games since the end of the 1998 season, when they were 102-60 and 12.5 games ahead of the second place Cubs. This marks the earliest date in a season that the Astros have held a 10.0-game divisional lead (previously July 4, 1979, 10.5-game lead over Cincinnati, 52-31). At 35-16, the Astros are off to their best 51-game start in franchise history, three games better than their previous record of 32-19 set in 1998. The club’s best 52-game start in club history was set by the 2015 and 1998 Astros (32-20). The Astros 15-6 (.714) record on the road is the second-best in Major League baseball behind Minnesota (14-5, .737).
The Twins’ pitching staff has hugely overachieved and an early AL Rookie of the Year candidate is right-hander Jose Berrios, who gets the start Tuesday. Berrios is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his three starts after really struggling in 2016 during a cup of coffee in the Show. Berrios walked nearly 13 percent of the hitters he faced in a mere 58 1/3 innings of major league work. When guys made contact, they blew him up, as his .370 Expected Weighted On-Base Average against (xwOBA) can attest. Berrios started 2017 in Triple-A but quickly demonstrated that he had nothing more to learn down there, dominating hitters once again. The Twins really had no choice but to call him up again and see what would happen. He has faced 79 hitters. He struck out 22 of them and walked only four. Berrios always had the stuff to be an ace. That’s why he was a first-round pick in the 2012 draft. That’s why he was one of the top 20 prospects in baseball.