MLB Odds, Preview, Predictions for White Sox vs. Yankees: Back Carlos Rodón to Stay Hot (May 21)

MLB Odds, Preview, Predictions for White Sox vs. Yankees: Back Carlos Rodón to Stay Hot (May 21) article feature image
Credit:

Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Rodón.

  • Carlos Rodón looks to stay hot for the White Sox on Friday in the series opener against the Yankees.
  • Rodón starts opposite fellow southpaw Jordan Montgomery, which Chicago will love given its success against lefty starters.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and where he sees betting value below.

White Sox vs. Yankees Odds

White Sox Odds -108
Yankees Odds -108
Over/Under 8.5
Time Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds updated Friday afternoon and via FanDuel

Two American League powerhouses meet up this week, as the Chicago White Sox travel to the Bronx for a three-game series with the New York Yankees.

Both teams feature dangerous and explosive offenses, but both teams are also struggling with injuries.

While this game is close to a pick’em, I see value on one side in the series opener.

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Chicago White Sox

For all the extra-curricular (i.e., managerial) issues the White Sox have been dealing with, they’ve been excellent on the field.

The South Siders own the best record in the American League and have been an excellent team in every area. In essence, the team is really good at winning games, no matter the situation. The White Sox are…

  • 26-16 overall
  • 14-8 at home
  • 12-8 on the road
  • 21-12 in nine-inning games
  • 5-1 in seven-inning doubleheaders
  • 5-4 in one-run games
  • 11-2 in blowout games (5+ runs)
  • 9-1 vs. left-handed pitchers
  • 17-14 vs. right-handed pitchers
  • 21-12 as favorites

Plus, the White Sox are 12-5 in the month of May so far. With defending American League Most Valuable Player Award-winner José Abreu still banged up, it’s incredibly important that the team continues to play good all-around baseball.

It takes a combination of things to play as well as the White Sox are right now. Since May 1, the lineup is second in wRC+ (121), bullpen second in FIP (2.86), and while the rotation hasn’t been quite as good, their unexpected ace has been almost immaculate.

Starting pitcher: Carlos Rodón (LHP)

I say almost immaculate, as Carlos Rodón finally had a poor start his last time on the mound. He allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings en route to his first loss of the season.

Recently, I wrote that we should expect some regression from Rodón. Before the Kansas City outing, Rodón had a 93.7% strand rate and a .180 BABIP, both numbers that are unsustainable over a full season. Perhaps the Kansas City outing was the first step in that regression.

However, it would be unfair to not mention what Rodón has done right this season. The White Sox had won all of Rodón’s previous five starts, and Rodón ranks among the top 10% of qualified pitchers in xBA (.180), xwOBA (.251), strikeout rate (38.3%) and xERA (2.42).

Rodón is throwing his fastball more and harder than ever. His four-seamer is now topping 95 mph, and the added velocity is leading to a career low wOBA on the pitch (.228) and a career-high whiff rate (30.9%).

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New York Yankees

After losing the series opener even on a Gerrit Cole start, the Yankees bounced back and took the next three games from the Rangers. That includes a no-hitter by Corey Kluber, who has been unhittable as of recent:

Corey Kluber since April 27 (5 starts):

4-0, 35.1 IP, 1.78 ERA, 2.39 FIP, 36 K, 9 BB

— Big Baby David (@BigBabyDavid_) May 20, 2021

 

With New York’s questionable rotation, I wrote recently that Kluber’s pitching might become the X-factor for this Yankee team. Pairing an in-form Kluber with a Cy Young Award candidate in Cole at the top of the rotation makes the Yankees incredibly dangerous.

That’s because we know what the rest of the team can do. The offense hits the ball hard (43.1% hard-hit, third in MLB) and well (9.5% barrel, third in MLB), and the bullpen is the best in baseball.

However, the Yankees are a little beat up right now. Gary Sánchez, Glebyer Torres and Giancarlo Stanton were all on the latest injury report, and the Yankees are just 15th in OPS over the past week (.723).

Luckily, Aaron Judge is really starting to heat up. Over his past 10 games, Judge is hitting .455 with a 1.478 OPS and five home runs.

Starting pitcher: Jordan Montgomery (LHP)

Jordan Montgomery is having just an average season and has really only had two high-quality starts this season. His most recent outing was an ugly one, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks over just three innings against the lowly Orioles.

Lucky for him, the Yankees tend to give Montgomery a lot of run support. The Yankees are scoring more than five runs per game when the lefty starts, and thus New York is 5-3 in those games.

I like watching Montgomery because he throws mostly breaking and off-speed stuff. His two most-used pitches are a changeup and curveball, although he tends to mix in a sinker. However, almost counter-intuitively, he doesn’t force a lot of weak contact (89.6 mph average exit velocity) or ground balls (43% ground ball rate).

One concerning thing about Montgomery’s season is his walk rate. After posting an insanely low 4.7% walk rate in 2020, that number is up to 6.5% and he’s walking more than 2.4 batters per nine. Those aren’t bad numbers, but the trend is concerning.

White Sox-Yankees Pick

I’m betting the White Sox in this series opener.

Montgomery should get eaten alive by a White Sox lineup that’s posted an .862 OPS and a .372 wOBA against lefties this season, both best in baseball by a wide margin. The White Sox have lost exactly once against a left-handed starter since the 2020 season started, and I don’t believe in Montgomery enough to buck that trend.

While Rodón is due for some regression, he’s still pitching like a legit ace and has been one of the best starters in the American League. Betting him at -104 is too enticing to pass up, especially since the Yankees have posted a lousy .600 OPS against southpaws over the past two weeks, which ranks 25th in the majors over that span.

I’m looking to play the White Sox at -115 or better.

Pick: White Sox -104 (play to -115)

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