A Play in the Battle of ERA Leaders

It isn't very often that a game aligns where you have two of the top three ERA pitchers in baseball facing off against each other. That's exactly what you get tonight in Chicago, so if you like a pitcher's duel, this is where you want to look.

Justin Verlander has been just magnificent this year for the Astros. He's a league leader in many categories and has to be well on his way to a Cy Young award. I only imagine it is his to lose. He even has a shot at being a 20-game winner which would be fun, and just the third time he's ever hit that number. Today he takes on the White Sox, one of the few teams that really hit him hard this season. In his first outing against them, he allowed four earned runs and nine hits in just 3.2 innings. I expect that performance to be in his head as they play again today. Seattle also roughed him up once this year, since that start, he has faced the Mariners three more times and only allowed three earned runs in 21.2 innings.

Dylan Cease comes in with the third-best ERA in baseball at 1.96. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised he has been this good. I expected him to be a really good and reliable pitcher. To be this good, I'd be lying if I said I thought he had it in him. Something really clicked in June and July and he hasn't looked back. Since June, he's gone 13 starts, covering 75 innings, and allowed just six earned runs. That's impressive stuff right there. The Sox are also 10-3 in games he's started since June.

With both pitchers eating innings, and unlikely to allow a lot of runs, we are going to play under 7 at -115.