MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for White Sox vs. Astros: Houston to Keep Rolling?
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Cristian Javier (Astros)
- The White Sox travel to Houston to take on the Astros on Sunday Night Baseball.
- Since starting the season 7-9, the Astros have ripped off 33 wins in their last 48 games.
- Can they continue to win in this night cap? Tanner McGrath breaks down how to bet the AL West heavyweight.
White Sox vs. Astros Odds
|White Sox Odds||+158|
|Time||7:08 p.m. ET|
The Astros just keep going.
It doesn’t matter if they lost Carlos Correa, or that Justin Verlander has had injury issues, or that Jose Urquidy can’t get it together. The Astros are back in first place in the AL West.
Meanwhile, the White Sox continue to flounder. This team might just be cursed, sitting at 30-32 with the most incompetent manager we can remember.
These two enter Sunday Night Baseball after splitting the first two games of this series, and both would love to enter next week with a series win.
Where does the value lie?
Injuries Burning White Sox
The White Sox have somewhat gotten it together. The offense is back around league average and their previously extremely low avg. launch angle is now just regular low.
They’re also hurt. Tim Anderson, Yasmani Grandal, Eloy Jimenez and Liam Hendriks are all on the IL for some amount of time. For all the grief he gets, it’s probably hard for Tony La Russa to put a lineup card together.
Nobody in baseball walks less than the White Sox. It’s not that they strike out or whiff a lot, they just haven’t had the best plate discipline. Just three of the top 12 hitters on the White Sox have OBP’s above .300.
So, the White Sox are five games back in the division. It’s not over, and help is on the way.
Anderson should be back on Monday. Hendriks will be back around Independence Day. Yaz might be out for another 10 days, but not too much longer after that.
Yoan Moncada continues to lose ABs because of his .179/.230/.292 slash line. He’s swinging more than he ever has in his career (48.7%), and his swinging-strike rate is up over three percent. It’s tough when you’re heralded as a contact guy and can’t make contact.
Having Anderson back is going to be massive. He was one of the league’s best hitters before his injury, leading MLB in average through the first 40 games (.356). The White Sox also desperately miss his .400 OBP and 10 doubles.
Starting pitcher: Michael Kopech (RHP)
The White Sox have found something in Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech.
Kopech is due for regression. His 1.92 ERA paired with his 4.50 xFIP is not sustainable. Add in his .177 BABIP, 12% walk rate and 3% HR/FB rate, and things look even uglier.
However, there’s still plenty to be excited about with Kopech.
His fastball is legit. It sits in the high 90s with great rising action (97th). He’s posted a -9 Run Value on the pitch so far this season, holding batters to a respectable .301 xwOBA.
I’m a little upset that he’s striking out only nine batters per nine this season. However, he struck out over 13 per nine in 44 appearances last season, and he has the stuff to keep it going.
10 Ks in only 5 IP for Michael Kopech 🔥 pic.twitter.com/vlTWGaN4QK
— MLB (@MLB) April 25, 2021
Kopech also ranks in the 93rd percentile of qualified pitchers in xBA allowed. He can hold batters down.
Breaking Down Astros’ Two Most Important Hitters
Again — and it bears repeating — the Astros just keep going.
Houston started the season 7-9. Since that 6-2 loss to Texas, the Astros are 33-15. They’ve won four of the last six games, and are bearing in on another series win.
People like to talk about Jose Altuve’s run of dominance, but there are two batters way more important to Houston’s success this season.
Yordan Alvarez is on a tear since signing his long-term extension. He still has an OPS over 1.000 through his 58 games this season, and he’s knocked 18 dingers so far.
But his Baseball Savant page is far more impressive. If you could find Alvarez for AL MVP at better than 20-to-1, I would bet that immediately.
Secondly, Kyle Tucker continues to roll this year. He leads the team in bWAR at 3.3, and his .358 OBP more than makes up for his .264 average. He leads the league in Defensive Runs Saved for outfielders, he’s hit 14 home runs this season and he’s stolen 11 bases.
Tucker is one of the most versatile and lethal weapons in baseball today. The Astros — and every other team — should not take him for granted.
Starting pitcher: Cristian Javier (RHP)
Cristian Javier has been quite the find for Houston this season.
He’s young, and he’s always shown promise. But the regression that was projected last year (3.55 ERA, 4.57 xERA) has flipped this season (3.20 ERA, 2.92 xERA).
Javier spins the ball better than almost any pitcher in the game. He ranks in the 87th percentile of qualified pitchers in fastball spin rate and the 95th percentile in curveball spin rate.
He doesn’t throw the ball hard, but Javier can get hitters way off balance with his stuff.
Cristian Javier, Nasty 78mph Slider. 😨 pic.twitter.com/FIfC0HZXkZ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 14, 2022
Expect a steady dose of four-seam fastballs, considering he throws it 60% of the time. It’ll run 94 mph with solid rising action, but — similar to Kopech — he’s allowed a very respectable .303 xwOBA on the pitch so far this season.
White Sox-Astros Pick
I truly trust Javier’s abilities.
I trust him far more than I trust Kopech, even though I like Kopech as a pitcher.
Javier has better stuff and better expected metrics, plus Javier is much more consistent than Kopech, who is never a sure bet to throw a gem.
Plus, Houston’s lineup is far superior to Chicago’s — especially with the White Sox’s injuries.
And in a matchup between two fastball-heavy pitchers, the Astros rank ninth in Weighted Fastball Runs Created (20) while the White Sox rank 26th (-18.7).
The Action Network’s Sean Zerillo projects we should bet the Astros F5 ML up to -162, and I’ll be on that side up until around -165.
Pick: Houston F5 ML (-155 at BetMGM | Play to -165)
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