The Chicago White Sox are churning toward the AL Central title. They can’t clinch that in their series opener at desperate Cincinnati on Friday, but the Pale Hose could clinch a playoff spot overall. The Reds definitely need this game more as they battle for an NL Wild Card spot.
How to Bet White Sox at Reds MLB Odds & TV Info
Why Bet on Chicago? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis
The Sox lead the all-time series vs. Cincinnati, 17-6, including an 11-4 record at Great American Ball Park. The Reds took two of three games in the last meeting from 7/2-4/18 in Cincinnati. Chicago is 8-6 vs. the National League Central this season.
Chicago could finish with the AL’s best record and thus the top seed in the playoffs. Oakland and Tampa Bay are right there, though. Rick Renteria, who has guided the White Sox to the second-best record in the major leagues behind the Dodgers, is attempting to become the seventh manager in franchise history to be named American League Manager of the Year.
Sox slugger Jose Abreu leads the major leagues with in RBI and ranks among the AL leaders in numerous other categories. He could join Minnesota’s Zoilo Versalles (1965) and Oakland’s Jose Canseco (1988) as the only Cuban natives named league MVP. Abreu is attempting to become the first player to lead the AL in RBI in back-to-back seasons since Boston’s David Ortiz in 2005-06.
Abreu also could become the fourth player in history to lead the AL in hits and RBI. He would join Boston’s Jim Rice in 1978 (213 H/139 RBI), Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 (189 H/121 RBI) and the Yankees’ Lou Gehrig in 1931 (211 H/184 RBI).
The White Sox lead the American League in average, slugging percentage and OBP. The Sox are attempting to become the first team since the 1995 Cleveland Indians to lead the AL in each of those categories. They have not led the AL in average since 1960 (.270), OBP since 1960 (.345) and slugging since 2006 (.464).
It’s rookie Jonathan Stiever on the mound Friday. He was only recently called up due to an injury to Dallas Keuchel. Stiever fared well in his MLB debut last Sunday, allowing one run on two hits over 3 innings in a no-decision against the Tigers. The right-hander punched out three and walked two. The only damage done against him came on an RBI single by Jorge Bonifacio in the opening inning. Stiever threw 45 of his 73 pitches for strikes.
Needless to say, Stiever hasn’t faced the Reds.Why Bet on Cincinnati? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis
The Reds have a small advantage here in that they were off Thursday and thus will have all their relievers available. Cincinnati is streaking at the right time, having won its fifth in a row Wednesday, 1-0 over Pittsburgh. It was the Reds’ first 4-game series sweep of the Pirates since 8/31-9/2, 2009 at Great American Ball Park.
Raisel Iglesias earned his eighth save of the season in the win. Iglesias was asked to protect a 1-0 lead, and a brilliant start by Luis Castillo, and he did so with a perfect top of the ninth inning, throwing all seven of his pitches for strikes. He’s been very sharp lately.
“We’re not trying to put too much pressure on ourselves. We’ve already done that,” catcher Curt Casali said. “We had those [expectations] in Spring Training and even into Summer Camp, and we fell short of that. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t bounce back from it. We’re living proof right now we can put together a win streak.”
Should the Reds beat out the Cardinals for second in the NL Central, that guarantees a playoff spot.
It’s scheduled to be Tejay Antone (0-2) in this one. Antone allowed two runs on four hits over three innings last Saturday in a loss to the Cardinals. Antone recorded three strikeouts and also issued three walks. He pitched to four batters, allowing all of them to reach base safely, before being lifted from the contest.
The hard-throwing 26-year-old rookie right-hander’s sinker/slider combo has generated a huge strikeout rate (11.44 K/9), and consistent soft contact on the ground (50.8% ground-ball rate), resulting in a pristine 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 36/14 K/BB ratio across 28 1/3 innings (nine appearances, four starts). Antone has posted an ERA of 3.86 in his 4 starts (16.1ip, 7er, .237oba) and 1.38 in his relief apps (13ip, 2er, .070oba).
Expert PredictionReds 7, White Sox 5
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