Strong pitching will be front and center in Chicago when the White Sox host the Texas Rangers on Friday. The White Sox have been a massive disappointment this season, currently bringing up the rear in the American League Central. But one player who has consistently shone through the darkness is starting pitcher Chris Sale. The nasty-throwing lefty may have just a 9-11 record but he owns a 2.78 ERA. He also leads to the AL in complete games, which means he has the capacity to go deep into any contest. That’s bad news for the Rangers line-up, as Sale has been particularly sharp at home in 2013. In 11 starts he owns a 2.06 ERA at US Cellular.
Rangers pitcher Martin Perez isn’t quite as dominant as Sale, but he has been very effective of late. Most notably, he’s thrown four straight quality starts (six innings or more pitched; three runs or fewer allowed). In that stretch, he’s lowered his ERA from 4.37 to 3.48. He’ll also be aided in this contest by the fact that the White Sox have the lowest runs scored per game rate of any AL team – even lower than the Houston Astros. The upshot is both pitchers should thrive. Take under 7.5 runs at 1.85.
A change of scenery has suited Bud Norris well and his Baltimore Orioles should pick up a win at home against the Oakland A’s. Norris was stuck pitching for the lowly Houston Astros for his first 21 starts this year but since being dealt to Baltimore he’s been a nice boost to the Orioles rotation: in his four starts with his new club, the Orioles are 4-0.
He’s been quite sharp in three of those four starts and in the only one he wasn’t, he had a good excuse. Pressed into pitching relief in a 14-inning game on August 14, he had only two days rest before having to make a start on the 17th. Going off schedule typically impacts a pitcher’s rhythm tremendously. In this game, he’ll be on normal rest. Another good sign: Last time he faced the A’s he threw a quality start – and that was when he was pitching for Houston. So I expect him to redouble his efforts now that he’s competing for a play-off contender.
While the Orioles are undefeated in Norris’ starts, A’s pitcher Dan Straily has a very different streak going. In six second half starts, he has a 0-5 record. Look for that bad run to continue here. Go with Baltimore at 1.72.