Nobody has wanted the AL Central this season. Chicago was supposed to win the division, Minnesota was in the lead most of the first half, and now Cleveland is in the lead coming into the September 20th Guardians at White Sox matchup.
Cleveland did a nice job of essentially eliminating of of the teams in their wake by taking four of five from the Twins over the weekend, putting Minnesota to 7GB in the division. Now there’s going to be a playoff atmosphere in the Windy City as Chicago tries to chip away at a 4 game deficit as -178 favorites in the series opener.
Guardians Coming In Hot
Cleveland dispersed the Twins over the weekend, taking four of five including a double header sweep on Saturday and taking Monday’s carryover contest 11-4 to cash at -115. The Guardians pushed their mark to 11-7 in September and finished the season series with Minnesota 12-6.
Now the Guardians turn their sites to the White Sox who they are 9-7 against this season but have lost four of the last five head to head matchups. Amed Rosario torched the Twins over the weekend going 11-25 with 2 HRs and 11 RBI. Things get a bit tougher in the September 20th Guardians at White Sox matchup against Chicago ace Dylan Cease.
Aaron Civale (2-6, 5.40 ERA) tries to get Cleveland off to a nice start to the series in his first start since August 28th (forearm). Civale had a 3.43 ERA in four starts in August, but we will see how the time off has affected him.
Must Win for Chicago
The White Sox took just two of three in Detroit over the weekend, a disappointment considering the team was aiming for a sweep as they try to make up a 4 game deficit on Cleveland with 17 to play. Chicago needs at the very least to take two of three from the Guardians this weekend and then try to steal one or two the rest of the way. The problem with that is Cleveland plays 9 home games to close out the year, with 6 of them coming against the Royals.
Chicago is 5.5 GB of the third spot in the wild card race so their best path to the playoffs is with a division win. The Sox are 6-1 in their last 7 against a RH starter and 8-3 in their last 11 overall so the possibility to pick up the series opener is there.
Dylan Cease (14-7, 2.16 ERA) starts for Chicago after allowing his first earned runs of August last time out, allowing 3ER over 5.0 IP in a 3-0 loss to the Rockies. Cease had shut out Oakland and Minnesota in consecutive starts prior and did not allow a run in two starts vs. the Guardians in August.
Free September 20th Guardians at White Sox Betting Pick
Chicago is a lofty -178 favorite despite the fact they are trailing Cleveland by 4 games in the standings. A whopping 83% of public bettors are on the White Sox, who should be able to hit Civale in his first start off the I.L. Cleveland could be a bit fatigued after a long 5-game series with Minnesota while Chicago had Monday off to rest up the bullpen.
Free Pick: White Sox -1.5 (+130)