Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros Pick 6/18/21
Chicago White Sox (43-26) vs. Houston Astros (40-28)
When: 8:10 p.m., Thursday, June 18
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Moneyline: CHW -105/HOU -105 (Get the best MLB Lines)
Runline: White Sox -1.5/Astros +1.5
Starting Pitchers: Carlos Rodon (6-2, 1.89 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) vs. Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.98 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
It’s a bit odd to call this a pressure situation when the White Sox are comfortably in first place in the AL Central, and the Astros are right behind Oakland in the AL West, but these games are critical. Both teams are so good at home and so middling on the road that whoever gets the No. 1 seed is going to have a significant advantage in the postseason. Right now, it appears that it’s a six-team race for five spots between the White Sox, the Astros, Oakland, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, and Boston, and every game makes a difference toward who’s going to win this battle.
So far, Houston’s off to a solid start, winning the opener relatively easily by pounding the White Sox 10-2 behind the long ball. This is where the Astros absolutely have to make up ground on Chicago because the Pale Hose have a big advantage in sharing a division with three of the five worst teams in the American League. All Houston can beat up on is Texas, and the Astros can’t even do that because they haven’t figured out how to win in the Metroplex. As such, this is a major pressure spot for Houston.
Unless you’re the 1996 Baltimore Orioles and have Brady Anderson somehow knocking 50 home runs out in one season, it’s usually a bad thing when your leadoff man is also your best home run hitter. But that’s the situation with the Astros, who are seeing Jose Altuve stroke a scorching bat as of late. Altuve hit another home run against the White Sox on Thursday, his fourth home run in the past three games.
Altuve wasn’t the one who turned the game in the Astros’ favor — that was Michael Brantley, who opened the floodgates with a three-run home run in the first inning — but his success at the plate seems to be spreading throughout the Astros’ lineup. He’s now up to 16 home runs on the season, and opposing pitchers are learning the hard way that there are seldom easy outs in the Astros’ batting order.
The 10-run outburst was the most obvious sign that the game on Thursday went exactly the way Houston wanted it to go. The Astros are the third-best “over” team in the majors in 2021, behind only the Angels and the Twins. But while those teams flounder, Houston has thrived because it earns its overs through good work at the plate rather than poor performance on the mound. Minnesota and the Angels both rank in the bottom five in ERA, as they’re usually the ones blowing the lead. Houston, on the other hand, leads the majors in batting average and runs per game.
Chicago is different, despite holding a top-five offense. The White Sox can put up runs when they have to, but they’re usually just concerned with getting the win with as little difficulty as possible and getting out. That could backfire in the postseason, but for the time being, the White Sox have proven they’re just fine getting just enough runs to get them through for the night.
- The White Sox have won 17 of their past 21 after allowing five runs or more in the previous game.
- The White Sox are 5-2 in their past seven against the AL West.
- The Astros are 4-0 in their past four games.
- The Astros are 83-38 in their past 121 home games.
- The over is 4-1 in the White Sox’s past five road games.
- The over is 6-1 in the Astros’ past seven home games against a lefty starter.
- The White Sox are 2-7 in the past nine meetings in Houston.
- The under is 12-5 in the past 17 meetings in Houston.
Wind would push the ball toward the left-field foul line at seven miles per hour from the east, but with temperatures pushing 90 degrees, expect the Astros to simply close the roof.
While Carlos Rodon has been pitching pretty well lately, he also hasn’t faced a lineup as potent as the Astros in a while. Throw in that the Astros have been so strong at home, and the White Sox still haven’t really learned how to win away from the South Side, and Houston looks like the team to back in a matchup that’s essentially a coin flip.
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