The Chicago White Sox lost the second of a three-game set against the AL Central rival Minnesota Twins, but they still claim the series by stealing another road win in Wednesday's rubber match.
Despite the defeat, Chicago is still tied atop the Central with Cleveland, 1.5 games clear of the Twins, whose 3-2 victory yesterday snapped a six-game losing streak. What will give in this battle of division foes?
Continue reading the remainder of abe Insights' preview for analysis of the primary betting lines, the best odds available upon publication, key stats that should help decide tonight's outcome and more information relevant to betting.
Date: Wednesday, September 2
Time: 8:10 p.m. ET
TV: WGN; FOX Sports North
Implied Probabilities: White Sox 40%; Twins 61%
Spread: CHW +1.5 (-135); MIN -1.5 (+125)
Moneyline: CHW +147; MIN -136
Reynaldo Lopez will be on the mound for Chicago against the Twins' Jose Berrios. Neither have had particularly strong 2020 seasons, as Lopez is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three starts, while Berrios, who won 14 games last year, has a 4.75 ERA over seven starts.
Lopez didn't exactly light it up the last time he faced Minnesota on July 26. He lasted only two-thirds of an innings, yielding four earned runs to begin a 14-2 blowout loss. Berrios let up five runs on seven hits in four frames when he faced the Sox on Opening Day.
120 vs. 93: In FanGraphs' advanced metric of Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), Chicago trails only San Diego as baseball's best batting order, while the Twins are in the bottom third of MLB, ranking tied for 20th.
4.11 vs. 3.96: Although Twins relievers have a stout bullpen that places in the top five in Fielding Independent Pitching, the Sox are superior in this area by a slight margin as well, with a lower total that's third in all of baseball.
8.3 vs. 4.0: Once the starting pitchers exit Wednesday's game, hits could be harder to come by due to the teams' elite pens and top-notch defense. Minnesota gets the edge here with MLB's No. 2 spot in Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games, with Chicago ranking sixth.
Another positive for the White Sox is the recent return of second baseman Nick Madrigal. The 23-year-old lacks the pop of some of his teammates' bats, yet he's an incredible contact hitter who should give Berrios and the Twins relievers headaches.
Madrigal has 13 hits in 33 at bats for a .394 average, and makes quick work of his hitting, facing only 3.26 pitches per plate appearance on average. Perhaps he'll learn more patience as his promising career continues, but it's working for now, and he can help set up the Sox power hitters for success.
Other phenoms on Chicago's side who've impressed this year are outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, who've jacked 11 and 10 home runs respectively. All-Star Jose Abreu is coming off a sensational August in which he hit 11 dingers and drove in 29 runs by himself.
The reason it's worth emphasizing the depth in the White Sox lineup is due to how historically great the Twins were in 2019. They hit an MLB-record 307 home runs, yet have failed to find anything close to that type of explosiveness this year, placing 21st in isolated power entering today's action.
A .239 team batting average and a lacking long ball have contributed to Minnesota's recent woes following a strong 20-10 start. The playoffs are still well within reach, but the Twins aren't as formidable as they were and are struggling to meet expectations.
The starting pitchers don't inspire confidence that either dangerous batting order will be kept in check. With the exception of last night's contest, all the prior meetings between these clubs were high-scoring. Thus, look for most wagers to place action on the Over.
Regarding the run line and outright winner, Chicago has been playing the better baseball of late. Despite Minnesota's 13-4 home record, look for bets to skew in favor of the White Sox spread and moneyline.
Note: Odds current as of 2:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday, September 2.
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