After a brutal month of April, the Chicago White Sox had the opportunity to pick up a sweep yesterday against the Twins, but they failed to get the job done. The White Sox will look to get back in the win column tonight in the first game of their series against the Reds, and we’ll preview the game before going over why I’ll be targeting a team total for the first five innings.
Through the first two games in May, it had looked like the White Sox were going to put their ugly start to the season behind them as they picked up two wins. However, yesterday they played to the level they had been since the start of the year, as they lost 7-3 in extra innings. Lucas Giolito pitched seven solid innings, and the game went into extras tied at two, but the White Sox bullpen struggles reared their head again, allowing five runs to be scored in the 12th inning.
Chicago threw six guys out of the bullpen yesterday, so they will need a strong start from Lance Lynn to keep the pen somewhat rested. Lynn’s numbers are a good indicator have how rough the beginning of the season was, as he has thrown 32.7 innings and has a 7.16 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 15 walks. The big righty struck out ten in 6 ⅓ innings against the Rays in his most recent outing but still took the loss as he allowed four earned runs.
Tonight Lynn will face a Reds lineup that had a rough series against the Padres and is currently ranked 30th in the league in OPS+. Cincinnati is still 5th in the league in BAbip after the series, but the struggles to produce solid contact have been concerning, as their hard-hit percentage is down to 32.7%.
Getting the start for the Reds will be young right-hander Hunter Greene. Tonight will be the righty’s seventh start of the year, and in 28 innings of work, he has pitched to a 2.89 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 11 walks. Greene is fresh off a strong outing against Oakland, throwing five innings with ten strikeouts and two unearned runs.
The over of the Reds F5 team total of 2.5 is currently priced at (+125), and I’ll be taking that as my play in this one. Chicago is allowing the 6th highest average runs per game in the first five innings this season, and when playing on the road, they allow an average of 3.31 runs per game which is the 7th highest in the league. Lance Lynn has also struggled mightily at the beginning of games through his first six starts.
Entering tonight, Lynn has an ERA in the first inning of 12 and a fourth inning ERA of 9. In the second and third innings, the right-hander's ERA is a 3.00, which has led to him allowing three or more runs in the first five innings in four out of his six starts. Lynn is in the 27th percentile in barrel percentage and 19th percentile in expected slugging percentage as well.
The Reds have hit exponentially better at home this season with a .251 batting average and .732 OPS. This has led to them being 12th in the league in average runs scored in the first five innings at home, with an average of 3.20.
Cincinnati Reds F5 Team Total Over 2.5 (+125)