White Sox vs. Cubs Analysis & Predictions 8/21/20
Chicago White Sox (15-11) vs. Chicago Cubs (16-8)
When: 8:15 p.m., Friday, August 21
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago
Starting Pitchers: Dallas Keuchel (3-2, 3.07 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) vs. Jon Lester (2-0, 2.74 ERA, 0.8 WHIP)
Moneyline: CWS -107/CHC -103 (BetNow)
Runline: White Sox 0/Cubs 0
Coming In Hot
OK, it was only the Tigers (and one against the Cardinals), but the White Sox looked outstanding in their past five games, winning all of them by two runs or more and putting up a lot of offense in the process. The White Sox were long thought to be playing for 2021 while using 2020 as a bridge to get there, but they might be speeding up the timetable with the way they’re playing as of late. With the Twins starting to struggle and the Indians being all-defense, the South Siders appear to see an opportunity, and they’re playing like it.
Unlike the Indians, the Pale Hose can hit. The White Sox lead the American League in home runs with 43, and they’re hitting .261 as a team, good for second-best in the AL. In other words, this team can hit for average and for power, which makes them very dangerous.
Coming to Earth?
The Cubs, on the other hand, might be heading in the wrong direction. The North Siders didn’t play badly at all during their series with the Cardinals, winning three out of five, but there’s no denying that the Cubs have cooled off a bit over the past week and a half. After feasting on the Pirates and Royals, the Cubs have won just three of their previous eight games, despite the fact that all eight were played at Wrigley Field thanks to the COVID Cardinals having to move two of their home games with the Cubs away from Busch Stadium.
Jon Lester should be able to stabilize the situation to an extent. He’s pitched well in three of his four starts this season, and the one exception was the Brewers, against whom he has never had much success. Other than that start, Lester has given up a mere two runs in 17 innings, and one of those was on a home run. Even hitting for average hasn’t worked against Lester outside of the Milwaukee game, as his other three starts saw him give up just seven hits.
Three, Three, Three
I usually focus on a specific number for my soccer plays, but I can’t ignore it in this situation. I’ve never brought this up in a baseball preview, but for whatever reason, the White Sox seem to love the number three when it comes to facing their crosstown rivals. In all four of their meetings last year, the Pale Hose scored exactly three runs.
It actually goes beyond just last season. In eight of the previous 14 matchups against the Cubs, the White Sox have put exactly three runs on the board. It’s a bizarre trend, which suggests that a bet of under the team total for the Pale Hose could be a sneaky play if the team total comes in at four or five, which it probably will given the offensive explosion in the Sox’s past five games.
If you’re looking for a prop bet, taking Keuchel and Lester to hit their strikeout numbers might be the way to go here. Only the Athletics have struck out more often than the Cubs this season (251 to 250), and Oakland has 72 more at-bats this season than the Cubs do. To put it another way, roughly one out of every three at-bats for the Cubs ends with a strikeout.
Things are a little better on the White Sox side because they rank fourth in baseball in at-bats with 881, but the Sox have still struck out 244 times on the year, fourth-most in the majors. This could be a game full of K’s on both sides.
- The White Sox are 8-1 in their past nine road games.
- The White Sox have won six straight against left-handed starters.
- The Cubs are 6-1 in their past seven against left-handed starters.
- The Cubs are 6-1 in their past seven following an off day.
- The Cubs have lost five straight as a home underdog.
- The under is 6-0-1 in the White Sox’s past seven series openers.
- The under is 14-3 in the Cubs’ past 17 after an off day.
- The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
- The Cubs have won seven of the last ten meetings at Wrigley Field.
Weather ReportA slight breeze of six miles per hour will be blowing out toward left field, which could lead to more home runs with both teams pitching left-handed starters. The temperature will be around 81 degrees at the first pitch.
I think both pitchers should have a strong night, but the White Sox are playing better baseball than the Cubs at the moment. The Cubs are a little fortunate that they built a big lead while the Cardinals had the virus, and now the North Siders appear to be coming off that high. Meanwhile, the White Sox are really seeing the ball well and coming off some strong numbers.
This is a coin flip, so I’m going with the team that’s hitting the ball better. Give me the White Sox.