American League Central Clash: Twins at White Sox

Jun 30, 2016

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Chicago White Sox southpaw Carlos Rodon has compiled at least seven strikeouts in each of his last three outings and toes the rubber Thursday afternoon with a 9.07 K/9 rate and 22.8% K%. Rodon is gradually becoming one of the best young arms in baseball despite owning a 2-6 record with a 4.09 ERA and 1.48 WHIP this season.

The 23-year-old’s peripherals are very strong, but he has been hampered by an extremely unlucky .346 BABIP. Once his hit rate regresses closer to what he posted last season (.315 BABIP), Rodon’s surface statistics will begin to reflect his true talent level.

Rodon owns a 2.64 ERA in day games, a 2.75 ERA versus division opponents and a 3.00 ERA over his last three starts. He also owns 3.78 FIP at home (4.34 ERA) and a 3.70 FIP in June (3.75 ERA) where he boasts a 26.9% K% and 19.2% K-BB%.

However, Rodon has been hampered by an unsustainable .397 BABIP this month so his value in the betting market is artificially depressed. Let’s also note that the talented lefty is 1-0 with a career 1.50 ERA and 1.33 WHIP versus the Twins, including a six-inning shutout performance on April 13.

Rodon’s success should continue against an anemic Minnesota lineup that is averaging 3.9 runs per game on the road (.231 AVG.; .294 OBP; .674 OPS), 3.8 runs per game in afternoon contests (.234 AVG.; .298 OBP; .675 OPS) and 3.5 runs per game versus division foes (.237 AVG.; .300 OBP; .659 OPS).

The Twins rank 27th in runs scored (306; MLB average is 345), 24th in OBP and 22nd in OPS. Rodon is also supported by a very good Chicago bullpen that owns a 2.31 ERA at home, a 3.36 ERA in day games and a 3.15 ERA over the last seven games.

In contrast, Minnesota’s bullpen has really struggled away from Target Field where it owns a 5.31 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 122 innings this season. The Twins’ relief staff also has a 5.02 ERA and 1.59 WHIP versus division foes and a 4.56 ERA and 1.41 WHIP overall in 2016.

Meanwhile, Minnesota soft-tosser Tom Milone posted a 5.40 ERA and 4.96 FIP in April and an 8.10 ERA and 6.76 FIP in May before being sent to Triple-A Rochester. Like last year, Milone excelled in the Minors where he posted a 1.66 ERA with 41 strikeouts and four walks in 48 2/3 innings with Rochester.

In his first start since being recalled from Triple-A, Milone threw 41 of his 77 pitches for strikes and only lasted 3 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old is now 0-2 with a 4.94 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 23 2/3 Major League innings this season. In his most recent trip to U.S. Cellular Field (9/12/15), Milone gave up 7 runs (4 earned) on eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings of work.

From a technical standpoint, the Twins are a money-burning 10-27 in their last 37 road games (1-4 in Milone’s L/5 road starts), 8-21 in their last 29 in game 3 of a series, 12-41 in their last 53 games following a loss and 6-23 in their last 29 division games.

Minnesota is also 9-26 as a road underdog this season, including 3-20 as a road underdog of +150 or less and 1-12 as a road underdog of +125 or less.

Finally, the White Sox are 16-7 in their last 23 games versus .399 or worse opposition, 4-1 in their last five games versus southpaws and 7-1 in their last eight meetings with Minnesota. With home teams standing at 10-1 in umpire Chris Conroy’s last 11 games behind the plate in Minnesota games, take the White Sox and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports’ Free MLB Pick: Chicago White Sox