Indians vs. White Sox MLB Odds & Picks: Back Triston McKenzie in First Five Innings (Monday, April 12)
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie (24) delivers a pitch to the plate during the seventh inning of the Major League Baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians on April 5, 2021, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH.
- Triston McKenzie makes his first start of 2021 against the White Sox on Monday night.
- Dallas Keuchel will replace Carlos Rodón as the Chicago starter, with Rodón being scratched with an illness.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down where he sees value in this AL Central matchup.
Editor’s Note: Carlos Rodón has been scratched due to illness and Dallas Keuchel will start in his place.
Indians vs. White Sox Odds
|White Sox Odds||-136|
|Time||8:10 p.m. ET|
The Indians and White Sox meet for a divisional series to begin the week with Chicago in desperate need of a win.
Cleveland has had the benefit of starting off of their season with six games against the lowly Tigers and two games against the Royals. So, this will be the first stiff competition they have seen this season. They’ll send their young sensation Triston McKenzie to the mound in hopes he can keep Cleveland in first place in the AL Central.
It’s been a rough season so far for the White Sox, who are 4-5 through their first nine games. Chicago came into the year with extremely high expectations, so it wants to avoid another divisional series loss.
Last season Cleveland had one of the worst offenses in baseball and it looks like its going to be the same story in 2021. The Indians finished the 2020 season 26th in wOBA and wRC+, plus they hit the third fewest home runs in baseball. Now, they’ve lost Lindor and Carlos Santana, who were two of their best hitters last season.
They still have one of the best sluggers in Jose Ramirez, who has consistently finished inside the top 10 in almost every major statistical category. They also added Amed Rosario and Eddie Rosario, which should help. Yet, outside of Ramirez, things are looking pretty bleak for the Indians.
Cleveland struggled against left-handed pitching last season, hitting below .230 and finished in the bottom 10 of the league in wOBA and wRC+. So, even though Carlos Rodón has been struggling, he might actually be effective tonight.
Chicago White Sox
If the White Sox are going to win the AL Central this season, they are going to have to it with their offense. They’ve been somewhat struggling through their first nine games of the season, but were one of the best lineups in baseball last season.
The White Sox crushed fastballs and curveballs last season, ranking in the top five of MLB against both pitches. They also hit right handed pitching pretty well, putting up a .322 wOBA and 105 wRC+. The good news is fastball and curveball are two of McKenzie’s main pitches, so they’ll have a good matchup against the young right hander.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Triston McKenzie vs. Carlos Rodón
2021 ZIPS Projected Stats (via Fangraphs)
Cleveland Indians Starting Pitcher
Triston McKenzie, RHP
2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Triston McKenzie is the second ranked prospect in the Indians organization and will finally get his chance to be in the starting rotation. He has a fine three-pitch mix that starts with a 91-95 MPH fastball that is very effective due to his command of it. His curveball also been graded by scouts as plus pitch with good movement.
As promising as his stuff is, McKenzie also has a tremendous feel for pitching. He’s still growing into his super-skinny frame, but is able to repeat his delivery well and fill up the zone with strikes.
He’s been impressive through his first 30-plus innings in the big leagues, posting an xFIP below four and racking up 47 punch outs. However, he’s still very raw and has only started six games in his MLB career, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares once hitters see him on a more consistent basis.
Chicago White Sox Starting Pitcher
Carlos Rodón, LHP
2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Carlos Rodón was once one of the White Sox most coveted prospects, but now has been relegated to the bullpen and the back end of the rotation. The lefty has really struggled with his command over the past few years, as his ERA and xFIP have been well above four. The main issue is he has granted far too many walks and has allowed hard contact far too often.
In both 2019 & 2020, Rodón’s hard hit rate was well above 30% and his BB/9 rate was well above four in 2019. He has a three pitch arsenal that he mainly goes to, but none of those pitches have really been effective, as all of them yielded a wOBA over .330 last season.
Rodón pitched five scoreless innings in his opening start and the Indians do struggle versus both left handed pitching and fastballs, so he may actually have a good matchup tonight.
The Indians bullpen lost its closer and one of its best relievers in the offseason, so expect them to take a step back from being ranked as the fourth-best bullpen in terms of xFIP. However, new closer James Karinchak is ready to take over the role, as he was one of the best swing-and-miss pitchers in baseball last season, boasting 53 strikeouts in only 27 innings. The Indians bullpen will also have everyone avaliable to pitch on Monday night.
Chicago is going to have one of the best bullpens in the American League after adding Liam Hendriks in the offseason. Last season, the White Sox were top 10 in MLB in ERA and xFIP, so adding an elite reliever like Hendriks is only going to make them better. However, Hendriks did throw 36 pitches yesterday, so it’s unclear if he will be available to tonight or not.
Indians-White Sox Pick
With all of the struggles Carlos Rodón has had over the past few years, I think McKenzie has the advantage in the starting pitching matchup. Even though Cleveland’s offense has struggled versus left handed pitching, they should be able to get to Rodón, who hasn’t been effective at all with his arsenal of pitches over the last two seasons.
Since I have the Indians projected at even money for the first five innings, I think there is value on McKenzie to out duel Rodón for the first half of the game at +120 (DraftKings).
Pick: Cleveland Indians First Five Innings +120
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