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Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox Series Preview, Betting Odds
The top two teams in the AL Central will clash this weekend as the Cleveland Indians (50-49) take on the Chicago White Sox (60-43). The White Sox will host this three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field starting on Friday.
While they sit in second place in the division, the Indians have some work to do as they currently trail Chicago by eight games. To make matters worse for Cleveland’s chances, they just traded one of their better players, Cesar Hernandez, to the White Sox on Thursday.
Still, the Indians will look to pounce on a White Sox team that is just 4-6 in their last 10 games. In fact, Chicago dropped three of four to the Royals to start the week, including a 5-0 loss on Thursday.
After splitting a two-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals to start the week, the Indians enjoyed an off day on Thursday. They did win their last game against St. Louise, 7-2, on Wednesday.
The schedule for the three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field is as follows:
- Friday, July 30 - 8:10 pm ET
- Saturday, July 31 - 7:10 pm ET
- Sunday, August 1 - 2:10 pm ET
Here is the pitching matchup for each game of the series:
- Friday: J.C. Mejia (1-6, 7.52 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (10-3, 1.91 ERA)
- Saturday: Triston McKenzie (1-4, 5.61 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (7-4, 4.32 ERA)
- Sunday: Cal Quantrill (2-2, 3.66 ERA) vs. TBD
Looking At Odds
Leading the division by eight games, the White Sox are currently -20000 to win the AL Central. The Indians are +3300 to overtake them and win the division.
In terms of the World Series, the White Sox have the third-best odds in the majors at +650. The Indians are +20000 to win it all this year.
By The Number
The Indians currently rank 19th in scoring averaging 4.28 runs per game. The White Sox, on the other hand, are one of the best in the league averaging 4.94 runs per game (fifth overall).
Defensively, it is once again the White Sox with the advantage. They rank fifth in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 3.81 runs per game (3.42 at home). The Indians rank 17th, allowing 4.57 runs per game.
Indians Look For Leadership During Struggles
Between their struggles this season and evidently selling at the deadline, it has been a tough year for Indians’ fans. Unfortunately, on Thursday, it became a bit tougher.
It was announced Thursday that manager Terry Francona will be taking a leave of absence from the team for the rest of the season as he deals with health issues. With a struggling ballclub, the Indians will look for leadership when things seem to be getting the worst.
On the field, that leadership comes from third baseman Jose Ramirez. The Indians' best hitter, he is currently batting .253/.343/.525 with 22 home runs, 60 runs batted in, and 66 runs scored. He also has 10 stolen bases on the season.
Ramirez has also been their hottest hitter recently. Over the last week, he has three home runs and eight runs batted in.
White Sox Try To Stay Dominant At Home
Despite being 60-43 and in first in the division, the White Sox have been mediocre on the road. In fact, they are currently under .500 away from Guaranteed Rate Field at 25-26. At home, though, they are 35-17 and will look to continue that dominance Friday.
While the White Sox offense can be elite, they are equally as solid on the mound. In fact, they rank seventh in team ERA at 3.58 and have the MLB ERA leader on the mound Friday in Lance Lynn.
They also have been trying to find ways to improve the club. On Thursday, they acquired Cesar Hernandez from the Indians and added Ryan Tepera to help their bullpen from the Cubs. Long story short, this is a team built for a World Series run and will be a tough matchup for Cleveland.
Did Indians Wave White Flag On Thursday?
It may have been a foregone conclusion, but the trade of Cesar Hernandez to the White Sox may have been a sign the Indians are raising the white flag. On the season, Hernandez was hitting .231/.307/.431 with 18 home runs and 47 runs batted in.
Now, he is playing for the enemy.
It is not altogether surprising, though, especially given the plethora of injuries the Indians have dealt with, especially in their pitching staff.
Still, if the Indians can find a way to get hot and sweep this series, they would find themselves just five games back of the White Sox as August starts. While it is unlikely, weirder things have happened.
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