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I’m a little confused as to why the Chicago White Sox (10-22) are only slight ‘dogs (-105) when they visit Cincinnati Reds (13-18) Friday for their series opener. Has anyone seen Chicago this season?
The White Sox are garbage. Their lineup and bullpen suck and Chicago’s rotation is underperforming. My guess is casual MLB fans are hanging onto the White Sox’s 1st-place season in 2021.
Granted, the Reds are awful too. But, Cincy is playing better entering Friday, has a much better starter on the bump and Chicago’s bullpen is one of the worst in MLB.
Chicago had its 3-game winning streak snapped in a 7-3 extra-inning loss to the Minnesota Twins Thursday. Cincinnati is 6-4 over the last 10 games but has lost three of the last four games.
White Sox vs. Reds odds (DraftKings Sportsbook)
- First pitch: 6:40 p.m. ET.
- Venue: Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Chicago: RHP Lance Lynn (0-4, 7.16 ERA). Lynn has lost three consecutive outings vs. the Rays, at the Blue Jays vs. the Phillies. He allowed 13 ERs in 16 2/3 IP with a 21/8 K/BB rate and 2 HRs over that span.
Cincy: RHP Hunter Greene (0-1, 2.89 ERA). Only one HR has been hit off of Greene this season. Greene’s 2.36 FIP (“fielding independent pitching”) is lower than his ERA.
White Sox-Reds handicap
I’m sure you can tell by the way I wrote the above blurbs that I’m higher on Greene than Lynn. FIP is more predictive than ERA. Greene has been good enough to win games if it weren’t for the Reds being bad.
According to Statcast, Greene’s K% grades in the 90th percentile of all pitchers and his whiff % is in the 91st percentile. Lynn’s K% and whiff % are both solid but his stuff is getting crushed upon contact.
For instance, Lynn’s exit velocity is in the 33rd percentile, his hard-hit % is in the 17th percentile, and his expected slugging percentage is in the 19th percentile.
Lynn has had a solid career and perhaps turns it around in 2023. But, Greene has some of the nastiest stuff in baseball and is mowing hitters down this season.
More importantly, Cincy’s bullpen ranks 9th in FIP (3.83), 12th in HR/9 rate (0.83), 10th in left-on-base % (74.0%), 5th in hard-hit % (27.5%), and 4th in WAR (1.9), per FanGraphs.
Whereas Chicago’s bullpen is 29th in FIP (5.41), last in HR/9 rate (1.75), 28th in left-on-base % (63.0%), 25th in hard-hit % (33.3%), and 29th in WAR (-1.8).
Plus, the Reds are more well-rested having an off-day Thursday while the White Sox played Friday and have a fatigued bullpen.
Finally, Chicago has the worst return on investment (ROI) on the road at -45.9% and Cincinnati ranks 5th in ROI at home at +19.4%.
BET: Reds (-115) at DraftKings, up to -130
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