The Chicago White Sox lost their fifth straight game last night, but that was not the biggest storyline surrounding the team yesterday. Following their loss to their crosstown rivals, the White Sox traded Lucas Giolito to the Angels for two prospects in what could be the first of many selling moves the team makes over the next few days. Tonight, the White Sox will play host to their divisional foe, the Guardians, and we’ll preview the game before going over my play for the first five innings.
While the White Sox were off losing their fifth straight game last night, the Guardians secured a series victory over the Royals, which are series they need to win in order to stay competitive in the two-team race to win the AL Central. After losing the opening game of the series, the Guardians bounced back with two straight wins, including an 8-3 win last night that featured two home runs from Jose Ramirez.
In last night’s win, the Guardians started one of their young arms in Gavin Williams, and they will be doing the same tonight as Tanner Bibee will be getting the ball for the 16th time this season. The young right-hander has been phenomenal over his last five starts, working at least five innings with two or fewer earned runs allowed in each of them. Overall, Bibee is sporting a 3.04 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 83 innings of work.
Bibee and the Guardians will take on a White Sox team that had their best offensive performance in a few games yesterday but still lost 10-7 to the Cubs. After scoring three runs on Tuesday night, the White turned around and put together ten hits yesterday, including Jake Burgers' 22nd home run of the year. While neither the lineup nor the pitching staff has been consistent for Chicago this season, last night’s game falls on the pitching staff.
Starter Lance Lynn allowed seven earned runs last night for the White Sox, so now it will be up to Dylan Cease to get the team back in the win column. Cease was impressive in his last outing over the Twins, but due to a lack of run support, he got the no-decision despite throwing six innings with nine strikeouts and one earned run allowed.
The total for the first five innings is currently set at 4.5, and I’ll be taking the under for my play. This is a matchup between two of the lowest-scoring F5 teams in the league this season, with Chicago ranked 22nd in average runs per game in the first five, and Cleveland ranked 27th. Due to their low average scoring early in games, the Guardians are one of seven teams in the league with a positive ROI in F5 under bets.
Over the last month, the White Sox lineup is hitting .205 against right-handed pitching at home, ranking them 30th in OPS, wOBA, and wRC+. That lineup is now tasked with facing a starter in Tanner Bibee, that is in the 80th percentile in expected batting average, 83rd percentile in xERA/xwOBA, and has a 3.46 ERA or lower in four of the first five innings.
On the other side, Dylan Cease is in the 57th percentile in xERA/xwOBA and 56th percentile in expected batting average, so he is a tough matchup for the Guardians. Cease also has a 2.60 FIP the first time through the lineup and is pitching to a 2.57 FIP in July, so he has the chance to keep this game low scoring early on.
F5 Under 4.5