White Sox vs. Angels

White Sox vs. Angels | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on April 2, 2021

Per usual, a new baseball season opens with Angels outfielder Mike Trout as the favorite on the MLB odds to win yet another AL MVP Award. Can Trout and the Halos finally get to the playoffs in 2021? They are underdogs for their opener on Thursday vs. the visiting White Sox.

How to Bet White Sox at Angels MLB Odds & TV InfoWhy Bet on Chicago? | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

The AL Central favored White Sox already have been hit hard by injury as young slugger Eloy Jimenez will miss 5-6 months with a shoulder injury. Jimenez had surgery to repair the injury, putting his season in jeopardy. General manager Rick Hahn said the team will know more when he begins the rehab process. Jimenez hit 31 homers in his first year in the majors in 2019. He batted .296 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in 55 games during the pandemic-shortened season.

“It’s going to be very hard for him not to be around us for the next several months. I’m looking for a silver lining in this that it can be a learning experience or positive for him in the long term,” Hahn said.

Jimenez ranks ninth among AL right-handed hitters with those 45 home runs since 2019 and hitting coach Frank Menechino has talked about Jiménez’s potential to hit .330 or .340 with his immense ability. Now, the White Sox are in scramble mode trying to figure out how to replace the roughly 125 wRC+ and 2.5 fWAR missing from left field.

It appears the team will try to replace him in-house with top hitting prospect Andrew Vaughn, although he’s more of a first base/DH type or using backup outfielder Leury García in a more regular role.

The White Sox have signed Jake Lamb, pending a physical. Lamb was just released by the Braves over the weekend after failing the make the Opening Day roster. The 30-year-old has mostly struggled dating back to 2018, but he’ll provide the White Sox with some useful veteran depth for their infield.

It’s ace Lucas Giolito on the mound here. Giolito ranked second in the American League last season behind Cleveland’s Shane Bieber with a franchise-record 12.07 strikeouts per 9.0 IP (97 SO/72.1 IP), eclipsing the previous standard of 11.82 set by Chris Sale in 2015. Giolito finished 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA. He allowed three earned runs or less in each of his last seven starts (five quality), going 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA (13 ER/44.2 IP), .147/.211/.263 slash line, just five homers allowed and 65 strikeouts.

Giolito is 11-3 with a 2.82 ERA (38 ER/121.1 IP), .208/.269/.361 slash line, 1.05 WHIP, 161 strikeouts and 14 homers allowed in 19 road starts (14 QS) since 2019. His only loss in his last 11 road starts since 2019 came on 9/1/19 at Atlanta (4 ER/6.0 IP).

In his final spring start Saturday, Giolito struck out nine batters through five scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and walking three against Colorado. Through 23 innings over six games this spring, Giolito had a 1.17 ERA and 0.87 WHIP, alongside 30 strikeouts.

Why Bet on LA Angels? | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

The Angels completed 2020 with an 26-34 mark, in fourth place in the A.L. West (-10.0) under manager Joe Maddon. LAA finished under .500 for a fifth consecutive season; first time for franchise since seven-year stretch from 1971-77. The Angels were 19-21 vs. A.L. West and 7-13 against N.L. West foes. The club went on a season-long five-game win streak Sept. 3-6 and remained mathematically alive for a postseason spot until the final series of the season.

Mike Trout earned a Silver Slugger Award for the eighth time in his career, becoming the first player to win the award eight times by age-28 season. Trout was also selected to All-MLB First Team for second consecutive year and was named Angels Team MVP for ninth straight season.

The three-time AL MVP became the Angels all-time home run leader when he hit his 300th career homer on Sept. 5 vs. Houston, passing Tim Salmon (299). Trout’s 75.7 career fWAR is the third-best ever by a player before through their age-28 season, behind Ty Cobb (78.6) and Rogers Hornsby (77.1).

It’s Dylan Bundy on the mound here. This will be Bundy’s second career Opening Day start. He got the start for the Orioles back in 2018 against the Twins. He threw seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and zero walks.

The right-hander is coming off his best season in the majors; registering a 3.29 ERA and 72/17 K/BB ratio over 65 2/3 innings and 11 starts. He finished 6-3 and ninth in American League Cy Young Award voting. Maddon also likes the matchup with Bundy and the White Sox lineup, which is mostly right-handed.

“That was part of it. Part of it is how well he has done, what he looks like this spring, all of that,” Maddon said. “Dylan is really demonstrating a kind of leadership role among the staff, and a consistency. I think that’s probably the best way to describe him. As we line up the rest of them, all six, the word ‘trust’ pops in my head — trust them all.”

Expert Prediction
  • White Sox 6, Angels 4

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