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White Sox-Angels Betting Preview: Should You Bet On Baseball’s Worst Pitcher?

Jul 23, 2018 2:10 AM EDT

Betting odds: Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels

  • White Sox +188 (Lucas Giolito)
  • Angels -205 (Jaime Barria)
  • Over/Under: 9 (-120/+100)
  • First Pitch: 10:07 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of 12:30 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets.


The White Sox are one of the weakest teams in the major leagues. Tonight’s starter, Giolito, is the worst starting pitcher in baseball. The 24-year-old has the highest ERA (6.18), FIP (6.14) and xFIP (6.21) among qualified starting pitchers this season. Giolito averages almost as many walks per nine innings (5.23) as he does strikeouts (5.49) and gives up 1.48 home runs per nine innings. He is a disaster on the mound, and yet, he could be worth a bet tonight.

In his last start, Giolito didn’t allow a run in 6.1 innings. He allowed two hits, three walks and struck out six. The free passes are still concerning, but it was the first scoreless start of the season for the former top prospect. Granted, it came against the terrible Kansas City Royals, but hey, you can only beat what’s in front of you.

It’s also worth noting that Giolito pitched well in the start before that outing, holding the Astros to a pair of runs on three hits (including a homer) and three walks in 7.1 innings. In fact, Giolito has turned in three quality starts in his last four outings, which represents significant progress for someone who had such a terrible first half.

The Angels’ offense is pretty good, however. Their 103 wRC+ (weighted runs created-plus, a catch-all stat that measures offense) leaves them tied for seventh in the MLB and they’ve hit 134 homers, which ranks fourth in the majors. It’s not an ideal matchup for Giolito, but there are certainly some exploitable bats here.


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Giolito will hopefully just need to be serviceable in this tilt. His counterpart is Barria. On the surface, it looks like the 22-year-old rookie right-hander has been decent this season. He owns a 3.55 ERA in 13 starts.

However, his 4.62 xFIP suggests he’s benefited from some luck, and his .269 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and 83.3% strand rate should both regress at some point. The White Sox lineup isn’t exactly murderers’ row, but it isn’t going up against Chris Sale.

Backing the worst pitcher in baseball should make you feel uncomfortable, but betting on Barria as a -205 favorite is even more frightening. At +188, the odds imply that the White Sox have ~34% chance of winning this game. It’s a bet that loses more often than not, but it’s hard to pass up the chance to take on a rookie pitcher due for regression at that price.

The Bet: White Sox +188

Credit:

Pictured: Lucas Giolito, Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Follow Michael J. Leboff on Twitter
@TheBigLeebowski

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