In a battle of the cellar dwellers, the home team Chicago White Sox has a strong advantage against the visiting Houston Astros on Tuesday.
Both clubs have been miserable this year (the Astros are at the bottom of the American League West; the White Sox are last in the AL Central). Notably, they are the two worst hitting clubs in the circuit.
But a few factors distinguish these clubs in this contest. The first is Chicago has home field advantage. As bad as they’ve been, the White Sox have registered nearly a .500 winning percentage at U.S. Cellular Field (30-33 coming into this series).
As for Houston, they have been about as equally bad on the road (.344 winning percentage) as at home (.323). Recent performance also indicates that these two losing clubs are currently not playing at the same subpar standard. Coming into this week, the White Sox were 14-10 in August. In stark contrast, Houston is 7-16.
Finally, the two pitchers in this game are of a very different ilk. The Astros are giving Paul Clemens his first Major League star. While he hasn’t gotten a starting assignment before, he did struggle mightily as a Big League reliever early in the season. In 30 appearances he owned a 6.36 ERA and gave up a robust 13 home runs in just 46 2/3 innings. He was sent back to the minors and worked on starting, but in six appearances in that role he’s put up an uninspiring 4.50 minor league ERA.
Chicago’s pitcher Jose Quintana (pictured) has been one of those rare bright spots for his team. In 26 starts he has a solid 3.67 ERA and a 7-4 record. Take the White Sox to win at 1.45.
If you’re looking for an even stronger guarantee in your wager, the Los Angeles Dodgers at home against the Chicago Cubs is a good pick.
The Dodgers will benefit greatly from sending their ace, Clayton Kershaw, to the pitcher’s mound. Kershaw has been hot as of late (in his past five starts he has a 0.71 ERA) and is particularly tough at home (1.56 ERA compared to 1.91 on the road). In 56 lifetime plate appearances against Kershaw, Chicago hitters have suffered through a combined batting average of .154.
The way the Cubs are playing in recent weeks – they were 6-17 in August coming into this series – there is no reason they’ll perform any better than their historical numbers. Throw in the fact that Chicago starter Travis Wood is 0-3 with a 5.16 ERA in his last five starts and Los Angeles is an easy buy at 1.30.
Chicago White Sox to win at 1.45.
LA Dodgers to win at 1.30.