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White Sox vs. Astros Odds, Preview, Prediction: Is It Wise to Fade Carlos Rodón? (Friday, June 18)

White Sox vs. Astros Odds, Preview, Prediction: Is It Wise to Fade Carlos Rodón? (Friday, June 18) article feature image

Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox.

  • Friday night's White Sox vs. Astros game embodies the proverbial spirit of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.
  • On the other side, you have the Houston Astros, who have dominated southpaws all season. Something has to give on Friday night.
  • MLB betting analyst Kenny Ducey breaks down the matchup to ensure you fall on the right side of that action.

White Sox vs. Astros Odds

White Sox Odds -115
Astros Odds -105
Over/Under 8.5 (+100 / -120)
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
TV SportsNet SW
Odds as of Friday morning and via PointsBet.

It appears the only thing that can slow the white-hot White Sox is the even trendier Houston Astros. After a 10-2 beatdown in Houston, Chicago now faces the possibility of its four-series winning streak coming to an end this weekend.

The stopper, in this case, will be White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodón, who will face the exciting Luis Garcia of the Houston Astros. Will Houston secure an impressive series win on Saturday and go for the sweep, or instead will this series see a rubber match on Sunday? Let’s see if we can find the answers in the numbers below.

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Chicago White Sox

There might not be a better man to right the ship for Chicago than Rodón, who has been nails in his past two starts.

So far in June, he’s the proud owner of a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings, allowing just a couple of runs on seven hits and four walks with a whopping 17 strikeouts. That recent performance has improved his ERA to a minuscule 1.89, which is backed by a very elite 2.55 xERA.

Rodón’s 37.2% strikeout rate ranks third among starters, when you remove injured pitchers and guys who “technically” count as starters according to FanGraphs, including David Phelps and Michael Kopech.

The White Sox ace’s affinity for the K has helped him out of trouble this year. Even though he has an impressive .254 xwOBA, we’ve seen his .363 xwOBA on contact and below-average 38.3% hard-hit rate come back to bite him at times this season.

Interestingly enough, this will be his first time facing the Astros since 2018. So, his stuff will be put to the ultimate test on Friday against what is not only the best offense in baseball, but one of the best against left-handed pitching to boot.

The only team that has hit lefties better is the White Sox, which also deserves its proper respect in this discussion.

Sure, Chicago has fallen off the torrid pace we witnessed a month ago, but it’s still far enough above league average to give even the most confident of pitchers issues. However, one potential hang-up — especially against a righty — will be the absence of Adam Eaton’s strong left-handed bat. The White Sox center fielder was placed on the 10-day Injured List (IL) on Thursday.

Houston Astros

It’s hard to put into words just how lethal this Astros offense has been lately, but here it goes. Houston’s league-high .405 wOBA over the past two weeks leads the next-best team, the Los Angeles Angels, by 39 points.

The Astros’ .318 batting average during that timespan is almost unheard of over such a large sample size. Houston’s 19.9% strikeout rate ranks third-lowest in baseball, and the team is making contact on 81.4% of swings.

When contact occurs, too, it’s been very good, with a league-leading average exit velocity of 91.4 mph and a splendid 45% hard-hit rate. Simply put, the Astros check all of the boxes.

Now that all that’s out of the way, we sadly have to inform you White Sox fans out there that the Astros mash lefties, and there will be a lefty on the hill today. Houston’s 126 wRC+ against southpaws narrowly trails the White Sox for the MLB lead (also, incidentally, at 126). Most importantly of all, the Astros’ strikeout rate against southpaws is at a league-low 17.2%.

If that’s not enough, Houston’s got an exciting young right-hander pitching for them on Friday in Luis Garcia, who has posted a 2.98 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) this season. His cutter and slider have been nearly unhittable (.088 BA and .097 BA, respectively) and his strikeout rate sits at a rockin’ 28.1%.

Garcia has allowed some hard contact, but that’s hardly an issue when you’re generating this many whiffs, and his .372 xwOBA on contact is comparable to other arms we’d call elite — like Rodón!

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White Sox-Astros Pick

I hate to say the Astros are an auto-bet against lefties, because every matchup takes careful research and critical thinking. With that said, a price this low cannot be ignored. It seems outrageous to make Houston an underdog at home against a lefty. The Astros are 23-13 at home, and it’d be just as outrageous to fade them as an underdog, considering they’re 9-6 in that spot this year for a +4.37-unit profit.

The Astros have a clear advantage getting to face a left-hander. As good as Rodón is, he shouldn’t be able to fan as many hitters as he normally does with a team as skilled at making contact as the Astros. It seems even more unlikely when you consider Houston’s microscopic strikeout rate against southpaws.

I love Garcia, and I like the fact that he’s facing a White Sox lineup that’s now without Eaton, and was already missing Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez. Despite Chicago’s excellent offensive form, Houston is arguably just as hot at the dish, and it has faced objectively better pitching. I’m struggling to find the reason the Astros are pegged as underdogs at some books, and would recommend getting in ahead of the steam. I’d take this all the way to -130.

Pick: Astros ML (-105)

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