This week’s Sunday night baseball game figures to be a compelling pitchers duel between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. On the road, the Indians are a slight favorite at -130 compared to Chicago’s moneyline of +120.
After losing Friday’s series opener against Chicago, the Indians beat the White Sox on Saturday 7-1. The Tribe has now won four of its last five games to shake off a slow start. Nevertheless, Cleveland is just 9-7 on the season, putting them in third place in the AL Central, 1.5 games behind the Twins, who have started fast in 2020.
Meanwhile, the White Sox are two games behind Minnesota heading into Sunday. Chicago had won six straight games not long ago but has now dropped three of four games, including Saturday’s setback.
Fortunately for the White Sox, they have a manageable schedule for the rest of August, so they will be well-positioned to keep pace with the Twins if they can take their series with the Indians.
Ace On The Mound
Lucas Giollito will get the start for Chicago on Sunday. Unfortunately for the White Sox, their opening-day starter hasn’t quite matched his success from last season.
Through three starts, Giolito has a disappointing 5.17 ERA thanks to a rough outing on opening day. On the bright side, the young ace has yielded just two runs on eight hits over 12 innings in his last two starts.
In fact, Giolito faced Cleveland last month and tossed six shutout innings, striking out six and conceding four hits. However, Giolito has struggled in his career against Cleveland’s best hitters Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, who are a combined 9 for 28 (.321) against him.
Of course, Giolito has handled the rest of Cleveland’s hitters. More importantly, the Indians haven’t gotten much production this year from anyone other than Lindor or Ramirez.
The Indians will counter Giolito with their own ace, Shane Bieber. The 25-year-old looks like the frontrunner for the American League Cy Young this year.
He’s 3-0 with a 0.83 ERA over his first three starts. He’s allowed just two runs on 12 hits over 21.2 innings while striking out 35.
The White Sox have a more formidable lineup than Cleveland. Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, and Leury Garcia have all had a strong start to the season. All three are hitting .300 or better with multiple home runs.
Meanwhile, the X-factor will be Jose Abreu, who hasn’t gotten hot just yet but has two home runs this season. More importantly, Abreu is 6 for 15 (.400) with two home runs in his career against Bieber. Moncada is also 6 for 15 with two home runs and a double against Bieber.
Be a Belieber
The White Sox undoubtedly have more offensive potential than Cleveland, and having Giolito on the mound doesn’t exactly hurt their chances. But there’s no reason to bet against Bieber at this point; he’s been spectacular.
Last month, he tossed eight shutout innings against Minnesota’s powerful lineup, so he can handle the White Sox, even with Abreu and Moncada hitting him in the past. Cleveland won’t have to score too many runs to win this game, which is why you should bet on the Indians to beat the White Sox on Sunday.
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