Featured Video from Scott Reichel
When and where: June 18, 2019, Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL, 8:00 PM ET
An ugly seven-game road trip has the Chicago Cubs looking forward to returning to Wrigley Field on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. The Cubs lost both series on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies. They’ll try to turn things around in an interleague battle with the White Sox, who are coming off back-to-back losses to the New York Yankees. Lefty Cole Hamels has received the green light from the Cubs start things off on the mound against White Sox righty Ivan Nova.
White Sox looking to prove a point at Wrigley Field
This is more than an average two-game series for the White Sox—the little brother team of the exalted Cubs franchise that perennially dominates the baseball conversation in the Windy City. However, there is reason to believe this season could potentially be different for a young, inexperienced and overachieving White Sox team. They currently sit in third place in the AL Central division with 34 wins and are as confident as ever.
And why wouldn’t they be?
They’ve shown remarkable potential in a sporadic season. There are times when they truly look like they’ve already arrived and others when we’re reminded they still have a long way to go. They recently split even with the New York Yankees not long after beating the Cleveland Indians and tying in a four-game series with the Houston Astros. The White Sox may be young, but they are still a dangerous team.
Nova will try to drill that message into the Cubs when he steps onto the mound on Tuesday. The 32-year-old veteran righty is throwing a 6.28 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 77.1 innings pitched this season, which isn’t exactly the production the White Sox expected when they acquired him in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has allowed four earned runs in back-to-back games against the Yankees and Kansas City Royals.
Can the Cubs get their offense going?
Offensive inconsistency is an odd problem for a team with so much talent and experience in a lineup, but the Cubs have somehow managed to create problems where they shouldn’t be any. They are averaging 2.33 runs in their last three games, which is the second-worst among all MLB teams in that timeframe. The Dodgers did a number on them defensively, and the White Sox are feisty enough to do the same if they’re unable to unearth their offensive firepower.
The Milwaukee Brewers have already overtaken the Cubs for the No. 1 spot in NL Central standings. Not to mention the St. Louis Cardinals have also somehow risen from the dead as contenders as well. They are only three games out from moving into second in the division. The Cubs have a serious fight on their hands this season.
Hamels will kick off a portion of that bout on Tuesday against the White Sox. The four-time MLB All-Star hasn’t allowed a run in the last three games against the Rockies and back-to-back appearances against the Cardinals. He has won his last two consecutive games and pitched 19 combined strikeouts in both meetings. His ERA is currently hovering at a 2.98 to go along with a 6-2 record on the mound.
- Cubs are 8-3 in their last 11 games against a right-handed starter
- Cubs are 20-8 in their last 28 home games
- Cubs are 60-27 in their last 87 home games against a team with a losing road record
- Cubs are 40-18 in their last 58 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days
- White Sox are 2-5 in their last 7 road games against a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- White Sox are 7-19 in their last 26 games against teams in the National League Central.
- White Sox are 7-19 in their last 26 interleague road games against a team with a winning record.
- White Sox are 22-60 in their last 82 road games against a team with a winning record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The White Sox are headed in the right direction, and the prospective precursors will eventually be dropped from every introduction, as we finally accept them as a legitimate contender. However, that’s still a ways off, and the Cubs are still by-and-large the more talented and experienced team.
The Hamels vs. Nova duel on the mound is especially a mismatch for the opposing Chicago-based teams. Nova looks worse in a White Sox jersey than he ever looked in a Pirates jersey. The Cubs should be able to get back on track offensively in this game, and they’ll have the confidence in knowing Hamels and the defense can make things difficult for the White Sox.
The same can’t be said for the White Sox’s defense, which opponents are averaging a .260/.339/.445 slash line against. That little brother syndrome isn’t quite ready to be lifted in this longstanding rivalry, and the Cubs will take full advantage on Tuesday. Give me the Cubs to open the series up with a win.
Prediction: Chicago Cubs (-235)
Full-Game Total Pick
The White Sox aren’t nearly as good defensively as the Dodgers, which should aid in the Cubs finding their offensive mojo again in this series. They’ll also benefit from Nova being on the mound. I’m not sold on his presence, particularly against a hard-hitting team like the Cubs. I’m taking the over betting total here.