Oakland A’s vs. Chicago White Sox Preview and Pick – Greg Smith vs. Mark Buehrle

Oakland A’s (8-5) +140, o/u 9 at Chicago White Sox (7-4) -150, 8:10 pm Eastern Monday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The best team in the American League West so far this season meets the best team in the AL Central when the Oakland A’s commence a quick two-game series in Chicago with the White Sox Monday night.

Baseball bookies are listing the Sox as -155 home chalk for Monday’s game, with an over/under of 9.

Oakland is 5-1 on its current eight-game road trip. After sweeping three games from the Blue Jays in Toronto, the A’s won the first two games in Cleveland before falling 7-1 Sunday. So heading into this week’s action, Oakland sits atop the AL West at 8-5, a game ahead of the second-place Los Angeles Angels.

Meanwhile, the White Sox beat Detroit Sunday 11-0, their second shutout in a row. So going into Monday’s play, Chicago sits atop the AL Central, a half-game ahead of the second-place Kansas City Royals.

The A’s are 5-1 on the road so far this year, while the Sox are 3-2 at home.

Last year, Oakland took the season series from Chicago five games to four. The o/u went 3-5-1 in those nine games, which averaged 8.1 total runs per.

A couple of left-handers will square off in Monday’s series opener, when Greg Smith takes the mound for the A’s against Mark Buehrle for the Sox.

Smith made his first career major league start last Wednesday in Toronto, allowing two ER and just two hits but walking five in six IP of a 6-3 Oakland win.

On the other side of this match-up, Buehrle got rocked for seven ER in an inning and two-thirds in the season opener vs. Cleveland, but then held Detroit to a run on seven hits in seven IP in a White Sox win April 6. Last year, Buehrle started two games vs. Oakland, allowing six ER and 16 baserunners (hits + walks) in 14 IP. Chicago went 1-1 in those two games, as did the o/u.

Offensively speaking, the A’s own a .329 team OBP this season, which ranks 14th in the majors, and are averaging 4.5 runs per game.

Meanwhile, the Sox own a .353 team OBP, which ranks 4th, and are averaging 6.4 RPG.

The Oakland bullpen has allowed eight ER and 30 baserunners in its last 16 IP.

The Chicago pen has allowed seven ER and 22 baserunners in its last 14 2/3 innings of work.

The o/u is 5-7 in A’s games this season, which are averaging 8.3 total runs, while the totals are 7-4 in White Sox games, which are averaging 10.9 runs. Games played at US Cellular Field last season averaged 9.8 total runs.

Zman’s Pick: Take the Sox at -150. Young lefty Smith is a good pitcher, but in our estimation, he’s not ready for the bigs yet.