Saturday MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox (Sept. 26)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Tim Anderson.
- The White Sox look to end their seven-game losing streak Saturday against the Cubs, a team that is just one win away from clinching the NL Central.
- The White Sox have dominated left-handed pitching this season, and with Jon Lester on the mound for the Cubs, they should have plenty of chances to score.
- BJ Cunningham previews this game and shares his betting pick below.
Cubs vs. White Sox Odds
|Cubs Odds||+138 [BET NOW]|
|White Sox Odds||-159 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||9 (-106/-115) [BET NOW]|
|First Pitch||7:10 p.m. ET|
The White Sox are in danger of falling all the way to the No. 7 seed in the playoff picture after losing 10-0 to the Cubs on Friday night. The loss makes it seven straight for the White Sox, who are trending in the wrong direction at the worst possible time. The Cubs have also been struggling, but are one win away from clinching the NL Central title. They’ll send 36-year-old Jon Lester to the mound to try and seal the deal.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.
Cubs Projected Starter
Jon Lester, LHP
Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Jon Lester’s great start to the season has come crashing down. He now has a xFIP of 5.00, which is the highest mark since his rookie season in 2006.
It’s no secret that Lester is starting to fall off a cliff as he gets into his late 30s. He’s posted an xFIP over 4.00 in each of his previous two seasons and this year its gotten worse. His fastball has been getting shelled to the tune of a .414 wOBA, which is bad news since the White Sox are one of the best fastball-hitting teams in baseball.
The last time Lester faced this White Sox lineup it was a complete disaster. The Sox tagged him for eight runs, including four home runs in only 3.2 innings.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox offense has been outstanding this season, accumulating a .335 wOBA and 114 wRC+. They’ve been the second-best team against left-handed pitching this year, with an outstanding .376 wOBA and 142 wRC+. Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu have led Chicago offensively, as they both have a wOBA above .400.
The key to their offensive success has been their versatility against nearly every pitch type. They rank inside the top five of Major League Baseball against fastballs, sinkers and curveballs, which are three of Lester’s main pitches.
Projections and Pick
Opportunities like this don’t come around very often during a baseball season. Lester is washed up at this point of his career and the White Sox offense has a perfect opportunity to knock him around the park again. Since I have 5.64 runs projected for the White Sox, I am going to back their team total Over 4.5 runs at -118 (BetRivers) and would play it up to -133.
The Pick: White Sox Team Total Over 4.5 (-118)