Don’t look now, but the Boston Red Sox have won six straight games. They’ve worked their way out of the gutter and the bats have woken up, scoring 49 runs in their last five games.
The White Sox are trudging along, making up ground after an atrocious start. The Southsiders recently took a huge doubleheader from the red-hot Yankees, slightly cutting into their AL Central deficit – although that deficit still sits at 5.5 games.
It’s always great when the two Sox’ meet up. So, who has the edge?
Let’s dive into the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for this Wednesday matchup.
Boston Red Sox vs Chicago White Sox Odds
Is it bad to say the Red Sox are undervalued with Rich Hill on the mound?
Maybe not. The guy has held his own in his 42-year-old season, pitching to an ERA below 4.00 while generally keeping Boston in the game. He and the Red Sox might be worth a look north of +140.
But it’s tough to fade Lucas Giolito, who continues to light the world on fire. He does have a 2-1 record this season, but the White Sox are 2-4 in games he’s started (of course, that’s not on the pitcher).
Let’s dive a little bit further into the specific matchups.
Boston Red Sox Starting Lineup
CF E. Hernandez R
3B R. Devers L
DH J. Martinez R
SS X. Bogaerts R
LF A. Verdugo L
2B T. Story R
1B F. Cordero L
C C. Vazquez R
RF J. Bradley L
Boston Red Sox vs Lucas Giolito
Giolito just keeps pitching past guys.
He’s on pace to strike out over 10 batters per nine innings for the fourth straight year, but Giolito’s number is up to 12.51 K/9 through his first six starts. That would be a career-high if stretched over a full season.
Giolito sets up hitters with a sturdy 93mph fastball and then catches them completely off guard with his 82mph changeup. That combination has been impossible to stop, as he’s posted an astounding 50.8% whiff rate on the change this season.
Lucas Giolito, Winner by KO (Elevated Changeup). 🥊 pic.twitter.com/wryUrAcYCv
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 11, 2022
Giolito has other pitches, of course, but he almost doesn’t need them. He’s been too good with that two-pitch mix, and has yet to give up more than three earned runs in a start this season.
But, Giolito is going to have to shut down this red-hot Boston lineup. Over the last two weeks, nobody has had a higher wRC+ (144), OPS (.854), or ISO (.221) than the Red Sox. Boston has been mashing the baseball.
Plus, Giolito should tread very lightly. The Red Sox were the third-best changeup hitting team in baseball last season, (23.1 weighted changeup runs created). Boston can kill changeup pitchers if the bats are running well.
And there’s no hotter hitter in baseball than Trevor Story, who has amassed a whopping 27 RBIs in the month of May alone.
Since he hit his first home run of the season on May 11, Story has a 1.121 OPS despite a disgustingly low .160 BABIP. He’s 11-for-38 with seven home runs and a 7:9 BB/K ratio in the progress.
Chicago White Sox Starting Lineup
SS T. Anderson R
3B Y. Moncada S
1B J. Abreu R
LF A. Vaughn R
C Y. Grandal S
CF AJ Pollock R
RF A. Engel R
DH J. Burger R
2B J. Harrison R
Chicago White Sox vs Rich Hill
Between 2016 and 2018, Hill pitched at least 130 innings each season with a K/9 over 10. But the wear and tear on your arm catch up with a 42-year-old, and he’ll never reach those heights again.
However, there’s no reason the ancient southpaw can’t be effective. Hill has developed into a curveball-heavy approach, and he continues to suppress exit velocities as a result. His 87mph avg. exit velocity allowed ranks in the 76th percentile of qualified pitchers this season.
The White Sox’s offense has been mercurial this season, as the team has hit the ball hard but hasn’t produced the needed results.
The culprit has been launch angle, as Chicago’s 10.4-degrees avg. launch angle ranks fifth-to-last in MLB this season. You can hit the ball as hard as you want, but the results won’t be there without the ball being driven in the air.
Don’t blame Tim Anderson, who has been far-and-away Chicago’s best hitter and has slashed .397/.454/.513 this month alongside homering against New York in Sunday’s doubleheader.
TIM ANDERSON THREE RUN TANK WHAT AN ABSOLUTE BEAST pic.twitter.com/Ojoahuzaog
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) May 23, 2022
The White Sox offense has started to produce better results in recent weeks, but it hasn’t reached the potential this crew has shown in the past. There’s work to be done for the 21-21 White Sox, and that should start against Hill and co. on Wednesday.
Boston Red Sox vs Chicago White Sox Pick & Prediction
My pick: Boston Red Sox ML (+152 at WynnBet Sportsbook)
I think this is giving the White Sox too much of a home-field advantage, while simultaneously underrating what the Red Sox have done in recent weeks.
Boston is destroying teams at the moment. The Red Sox have a +28 run differential in the past five games alone, which has boosted their season-long number to +22. The bats have woken up in Boston, and it’s led to two comeback victories and a six-game winning streak.
Sure, Giolito is a far superior pitcher. However, Rich Hill and the Boston bullpen are going to give their bats a chance to win this game, and giving them odds better than +150 is too kind.
I’ll back the Red Sox to clinch a series win at anything better than +140.