The Cincinnati Reds won their sixth straight game with a 7-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night in the series opener. The Reds took a 6-0 lead with the help of a five-run 3rd inning and never looked back. These two teams will conclude their three-game series on Sunday.
**This preview was written before the two teams played their game on Saturday.**
White Sox closer to division crownThe White Sox loss on Friday was just their third defeat in the last 14 games. With a 33-18 record, the Chicago White Sox have clinched a spot in the postseason and hold a three-game lead in the AL Central over the Minnesota Twins.
The White Sox are led by MVP candidate Jose Abreu who is batting .327 with 17 home runs and 52 RBI. One threat to Abreu's MVP votes could be his teammate, Tim Anderson, who is currently second in MLB with a .365 AVG while adding eight home runs, 19 RBI, and five steals.
Collectively the White Sox are currently second in MLB batting .270, sixth with 268 runs scored, and fifth with 83 home runs this season.
The White Sox will start one of their ace's, Dylan Cease, who is 5-2 with a 3.20 ERA on the season. He has never faced the Reds in his career. As a team, Chicago has a 3.45 ERA, which is the third-best in baseball.
Reds hope to break playoff droughtThe Cincinnati Reds are 26-26 and currently second in the NL Central. With eight games remaining, the Reds are now in a position to qualify for their first postseason berth since 2012.
The Reds bats are hitting an MLB worst .213 on the season, but the power has been there as they are seventh in MLB with 79 home runs, but only 26th with 207 runs. The Reds homered four times in their 7-1 win over the White Sox on Friday. Jesse Winker leads the Reds with a .263 average and hit his 11th home run on Friday. Eugenio Suarez and Nick Castellanos are tied for a team-high 13 homers and 30 RBI.
The Reds pitching staff has been solid, ranking ninth in MLB with a 3.98 ERA. Michael Lorenzen will get his second start of the season on Sunday. Lorenzen is 2-1 with a 4.56 ERA, including 15 relief appearances.
- Reds are 6-0 in their last 6 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Reds are 5-0 in their last 5 home games.
- White Sox are 1-2 in Cease's last three road starts
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Reds are playing their best baseball of the season, and I expect them to begin to pull out all of the stops with their pitching staff as they try to secure a postseason berth. The White Sox want to win this game, but they do not have the same desperation as Cincinnati.
Dylan Ceases has not pitched as well on the road where he has a 4.15 ERA in six starts, opposed to his 1.77 ERA in four-game starts this season. I think the Reds are worth as shot as a nice dog on Sunday.
Prediction: Cincinnati Reds ML
Full-Game Total Pick
Both of these teams have been on a trend of unders lately. The White Sox have only had one of their last 12 games go over the total and the Reds have only had more than eight runs score in three of their last 16 games. Both pitchers are also pretty strong so they should have an advantage over the lineups.