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The first game of this series got rained out on Monday, so the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox will play game two of a doubleheader here. Gerrit Cole will be on the mound for Houston, while the White Sox will start Ivan Nova. Not surprisingly given the disparity in records, oddsmakers have the Astros as massive favorites here even though they’re on the road.
Astros On Top
The Astros are once again one of the best teams in baseball, and they appear poised for yet another deep playoff run. They enter this one at 77-41, and they’ve been dominating weaker opponents all year long. After getting off to a middling start, they’ve gone 59-27 in their last 86 games. As they look to keep building momentum heading into October, they’ll have Gerrit Cole on the mound here. Cole has been having a fantastic season, entering this one with a 2.87 ERA. He has a minuscule 0.98 WHIP, and the Astros are an incredible 16-3 in his last 19 starts. In his last ten starts he’s given up only ten total runs, going at least six innings in all of those games.
Gerrit Cole getting squeezed at 98mph and walks off.
And, then paints with 99mph on the next pitch & gives the "Ya gonna call that one?" glance back.
Baddest Starter on the Planet. pic.twitter.com/6RS5Riv1oG
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 8, 2019
They sometimes struggle to hit lefties, but they’re 16-5 in their last 21 games against right-handed starters like Nova. When the Astros win games they don’t just win them, they tend to win by huge margins. For example, their most recent win was a merciless 23-2 beatdown of the Orioles. Just in the past week they’ve won games by margins of 23-2, 14-3, 11-6, 9-0, and 10-2. With the way Cole has been pitching you’d be forgiven for forgetting just how good this Astros offense is as well. They’ve dealt with injuries most of the season but they’re finally getting back to full strength with Carlos Correa now back in the lineup.
White Sox Trending Down
The White Sox are still at least another season away, but there’s a lot to be excited about right now if you’re a Chicago fan. The team battled hard in the first half of the season, hovering around .500. They have an interesting nucleus of young talent, and all their youngsters seem to be making real progress in their development. That being said, they’ve been on a downward slope since the All-Star break, and are now 12 games under .500 entering this one. They’re just 1-6 in their last seven home games, and now have to host one of the best teams in the league for what should be a tough series.
As they look to pull off the big upset, they’ll turn to veteran Ivan Nova here. Nova has been his usual mediocre self this season, entering this one with a 4.80 ERA through 24 starts. He did dominate in his most recent start, tossing eight shutout innings. However that was against the Tigers, perhaps the weakest offense in the league, and he’ll have a much tougher task here. The White Sox have struggled in this matchup, a rematch of the 2005 World Series, going 2-9 the last 11 times that they’ve played the Astros. They’re also just 6-21 in their last 27 games against right-handed starters like Cole.
White Sox are:
- 2-9 in their last 11 games vs. White Sox
- 1-6 in their last 7 home games
- 6-21 in their last 27 games vs. a right-handed starter
- 16-3 in Cole’s last 19 starts
- 59-27 in their last 86 overall
- 47-15 in their last 62 vs. a team with a losing record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I’m playing the Astros on the run line here. They’ve been absolutely destroying opponents recently, and their most recent win came by 21 runs. If you think they’re going to win here, they’re almost certainly going to win by multiple runs. Cole has been dominant recently, giving up only ten runs in his last ten starts combined, so the Astros should win this one pretty comfortably.
Prediction: Astros Run Line
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the over here. The Astros’ offense is finally healthy, and they’ve been punishing opposing pitching staffs recently. In three of their past five games they’ve scored at least 11 runs, so they could easily send this one over by themselves. Nova pitched once against the Astros earlier this season and gave up ten hits, and I think he’ll get hit similarly hard here.