Game: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros
Time: 4:07 PM ET
Starting Pitchers: Lance Lynn vs. Lance McCullers Jr.
Odds: White Sox +125, Astros -131
The experience of the Houston Astros takes on the youth of the Chicago White Sox as the ALDS gets underway at Minute Maid Park in Houston. It’s the fifth straight trip to the postseason for the Astros who will be looking to earn their fifth straight appearance in the ALCS. Chicago is making its second straight playoff appearance after getting bounced in the AL Wild Card last year.
Houston won the season series between the two teams winning five of seven games. The Astros swept Chicago in a four-game series back in mid-June. Game 1 pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. started two of those seven games against the White Sox this season. He was very effective in picking up two wins. In a combined 13 innings, McCullers allowed four hits and three runs.
While McCullers does have some issues with walks – 76 this season – he does keep the ball in the park. His home run rate is 0.72 per nine innings. If he continues to do that, Houston can be successful tonight. McCullers will also have the backing of one of the best hitting lineups in baseball. The Astros led the majors in runs per game averaging 5.33. Their team batting average of .267 was also the best in baseball. Three players – Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Kyle Tucker – each hit 30 or more home runs this season.
That is going to make it difficult for Chicago pitcher Lance Lynn. The White Sox right-hander went 11-6 this season with a very strong 2.75 ERA. Lynn did have two pretty poor starts among his last six of the regular season. He gave up seven earned runs to the Cubs and six to the Indians.
The White Sox lost four of Lynn’s final six starts of the season. Lynn did face the Astros once this season way back in June. He pitched just four innings and allowed eight hits, six runs, five of which were earned, and the White Sox lost 7-3.
Chicago did finish the regular season with six wins in its final seven games. In those six wins, the White Sox averaged 6.5 runs per game. The offense is going to be the difference in this game as well as the series. In the seven games, these two teams played this season, Chicago averaged just 3.28 runs a game.
With that in mind, tonight’s total is set at 8. Both pitchers have the ability to go deep into this game and both bullpens are solid. Chicago is 10th in bullpen ERA; Houston is 15th. Playing at Minute Maid Park also favors the pitchers. The Astros home field ranks below average in run-rate – 0.983.
Houston finished third in the majors in Over percentage. The Over went 86-69-7 (55.5%) in Astros games this season. The Over went 45-35-1 (56.2%) in Houston games played at Minute Maid Park. In the seven games, Houston and Chicago played this season, the Over was 4-3.