While the expectations were quite different going into the season for the White Sox and Guardians, they’re both below .500 and only separated by 5 games in the standings. Let’s take a look at the odds for the final game of this series between AL Central foes, where my prediction is for the visiting Guardians to win.
Guardians Vs. White Sox Prediction
With the first two games in the books, the White Sox are looking for a surprise sweep against a floundering Cleveland team. The Guardians were tabbed by most before the season to win the Central, but are a few games behind the Twins in the division race.
Both teams have struggled at the plate this year, albeit to different degrees. The Guards have the worst OPS in the MLB, while Chicago are just outside of the bottom 10 in that category. Runs scored is a bit kinder to both teams, but not by much, as Cleveland sits in 29th compared to 17th for the Southsiders.
The other side of the game is a drastically different story. The White Sox pitch about as poorly as the Guardians hit; they’re 29th in the league in ERA and total runs allowed, and 28th in WHIP. Meanwhile, Cleveland is 7th in ERA, 8th in runs, and 12th in WHIP, as pitching is certainly the relative strength of this team.
The starting pitching matchup is not too surprising given the above figures; Cleveland is trotting out rookie lefty Logan Allen, who is off to a really nice start to his first big league season. Conversely, Chicago’s Dylan Cease is coming off of an exceptional campaign in which he was the AL Cy Young runner-up, but has struggled mightily this year to the tune of a 4.86 ERA.
It’s hard to imagine these White Sox sweeping anyone, let alone a decent Guardians team. While I do believe that Cease has the ability to rebound, he isn’t in the best spot right now, and I wouldn’t advise investing in his success- I’m taking Cleveland on the moneyline. That being said, neither offense inspires a ton of confidence, and this does have the potential to become a pitcher’s duel, so I’m a big fan of the under.
Guardians Vs. White Sox Prediction: Guardians ML (+120), under 8 (-115)
Guardians Vs. White Sox Odds
The White Sox are favored with -140 odds at home, while the Guardians are +120 on the road. For a run total of 8, the over is -105 and the under is -115.
Guardians Vs. White Sox Key Matchups
Dylan Cease Vs. Top of the Lineup
Cease could potentially be turning the corner after finally putting together a nice performance of 6 shutout innings against Houston, and a date with the anemic Cleveland offense could be just what he needs. Still, he’s struggled pretty uniformly across his other 8 appearances this year, and there are some dangerous bats in the Cleveland lineup.
Most of the “sleeping giant” bats you have to worry about against the Guardians are at or near the top of the lineup, as there really isn’t a lot of offensive depth on the roster. The best bat thus far has surely been star third baseman José Ramírez, who has been solid but not quite up to his usual all-league level. Unfortunately, he is away from the team on the bereavement list, as he spends time with his family after the passing of his Grandmother.
One of the other two Guardians who have been hitting at least respectably well is Steven Kwan, who is a real competitor and a solid contact bat. The other is Josh Bell, who is still nowhere close to playing to his own standard, but is nonetheless pretty easily Cleveland’s third-best hitter this year.
Bell has put together a five-game hitting streak, so perhaps there’s signs of improvement, but his numbers still are nothing to write home about. His struggles, as well as those of almost every other Cleveland hitter, are a big reason I’m taking the under in my Guardians vs. White Sox prediction.
Logan Allen Vs. Chicago Righties
Across a small sample size, the lefty Allen has a reverse-split; other left handers have hit him significantly better than righties do. In that vein, let’s take a look at the three White Sox off to the hottest starts, two of which are righties.
Cleveland Pitchers – 2023
Most Strikeouts in a Game
9 K – Shane Bieber vs DET (today)
8 K – Logan Allen @ BOS (4/30)
8 K – Tanner Bibee vs COL (4/26)
8 K – Logan Allen vs MIA (4/23)
7 K – Peyton Battenfield vs MIN (5/5)
7 K – Shane Bieber @ OAK (4/4)pic.twitter.com/L8vIJkQezx
— Cleveland Stats (@CLE_STATS) May 9, 2023
The third is Yoan Moncada, a switch hitter, who will presumably be hitting from the right side against the left hander. He’s only played 13 games so far, but along with the other two bats I’ll highlight has an OPS over .900, so he’s come on strong in limited time.
The two true righties are Luis Robert Jr., one of the most exciting young talents in the league. He needs to walk more, but is hitting for decent contact and already has a dozen home runs. Lastly, third baseman Jake Burger is breaking out, with 9 homers and an OPS over 1.000 over about a month of play. His start may not be entirely sustainable, but it’ll be interesting to see how he does this weekend against Allen while his bat is still hot.
Guardians Vs. White Sox Starting Lineups
Guardians Starting Lineup
LF S. Kwan L
DH A. Rosario R
2B A. Gimenez L
1B J. Bell S
RF W. Brennan L
3B T. Freeman R
SS B. Rocchio S
C M. Zunino R
CF M. Straw R
White Sox Starting Lineup
SS T. Anderson R
LF A. Benintendi L
CF L. Robert R
3B Y. Moncada S
1B A. Vaughn R
RF G. Sheets L
C Y. Grandal S
DH J. Burger R
2B H. Alberto R