MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for White Sox vs. Royals: Will Royals Win Streak End Against Dylan Cease? (July 27)
Will Newton/Getty Images. Pictured: Dylan Cease.
- The White Sox and Royals meet on Tuesday night in Kansas City with Dylan Cease taking on Brad Keller.
- The Royals won Monday's series opener to extend their winning streak to six games. Can they keep it going tonight?
- Mike Ianniello makes his betting pick below.
White Sox vs. Royals Odds
|White Sox Odds||-145|
|Over/Under||9.5 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||8:10 p.m. ET|
The Chicago White Sox sit atop the AL Central with an 8.5 game lead, the biggest gap of any division leader. They are 59-41 this season and have a +114 run differential.
However, it is the Kansas City Royals who are currently on a six-game winning streak, their best mark of the season and the longest active win streak in the league.
The Royals took Game 1 of the series thanks to a pair of home runs by Jorge Soler. Kansas City is 7-2 since the All-Star break but just 4-6 against the White Sox this season.
Let’s take a look at Tuesday’s Game 2 and see if we can find a betting edge.
Improved Cease Has Given White Sox a Boost
There are not many teams that have a No. 5 starter in their rotation with the upside of right-hander Dylan Cease. He is still just 25-years-old and only in his third big league season. His 20 starts this year are already a career-high. Cease has shown signs of brilliance, including four games where he didn’t allow a single run. But he has also had some disasters, with four outings allowing five runs or more.
The advanced metrics for Cease have totally reversed from last season. In 2020, Cease had a 6.66 xERA, more than two full runs higher than his actual ERA of 4.01. This season, his 3.89 xERA is much better than his current ERA of 4.21.
The biggest area Cease has improved this season has been his control. After really struggling with a 5.25 BB/9 last season, he has cut that down to 3.77. While still not great, it has allowed him to be confident throwing his curveball more, up to 14.9% from just 9.3% last season. Limiting the walks has also allowed Cease to nearly double his strikeout rate to 11.57 K/9 up from 6.79 last year. His curveball has a 52.5 K%.
Not that this team needed much of a boost, but they got a big one with the return of Eloy Jiménez. The star left fielder and 2020 Silver Slugger made his season debut Monday after tearing his pectoral tendon during spring training. He ranked seventh in the league last season with a 55% HardHit%.
Is Keller Turning the Corner for KC?
In his last start, right-hander Brad Keller was able to pick up his first win since June 4. After breaking out with a 2.47 ERA in the shortened 2020 season, the Royals were expecting big things from Keller and named him the Opening Day starter. Unfortunately he has really struggled to a 5.84 ERA and even worse 6.42 xERA.
After his slider and fastball were brilliant last season — both holding opponents under a .190 batting average — they have been crushed this season. His fastball is allowing a .343 average and .433 wOBA, and his slider has a 51% HardHit%. Keller ranks in the bottom-2% of the league in xERA, xBA and xwOBA this season.
Maybe … just maybe … Keller is starting to turn a corner as he has put together three straight quality starts and has a 2.61 ERA and .200 batting average against in his last three outings.
Kansas City has some talent on offense and started the year strong, but has struggled to score runs for most of the season. The Royals rank eighth in the league in batting average but just 21st in runs per game and wRC+.
Even at 31-years old, the Royal subject of this team is still catcher Salvador Perez. He leads the team in hits, home runs and RBI. He has a hit in six straight games and two home runs in the last three games.
White Sox-Royals Pick
Both of these teams have seen plenty of the pitcher that they will be facing on Tuesday night. Kansas City has faced Cease twice this season and the White Sox have seen Keller three times already.
Despite being inconsistent this year, in Cease’s two starts against the Royals this season have been nearly spotless with a 0.87 ERA. In 10 1/3 innings, he has allowed just seven hits and one run against KC. He throws his 97-mph fastball more than 45% of the time and the Royals rank just 25th in the league against fastballs.
Keller, on the other hand, has a 5.65 ERA in his three starts against Chicago and has allowed 16 hits and nine runs in 14 1/3 innings. The Sox are batting .302 against him this year.
I think Kansas City’s winning streak ends on Tuesday. The White Sox offense should be able to rough up Keller. He has been even worse at home this year, sitting with a 7.19 ERA at Kauffman Stadium.
Bet the White Sox to snap the Royals winning streak on Tuesday at -145, and play them up to -150.
Pick: Chicago White Sox ML -145 (Bet -150 or better)