White Sox vs A’s – 2020 MLB Expert Analysis
About a week ago, the Chicago White Sox had the best record in the American League. However, they really slumped down the stretch to lose the AL Central title and are a Wild-Card team. They visit the AL West champion Oakland A’s in Game 1 of their playoff series Tuesday.
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Why Bet on Chicago? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis
The White Sox are one of just 15 franchises to win three or more World Series. Get one this year, and they’ll become one of just 12 franchises to win four or more. The Sox’s last title was in 2005.
The Pale Hose can rake sometimes but they also strike out a ton. They are second in the American League in runs per game and OPS+, but not only do they have one of the highest strikeout rates in the majors (24th), but they were next to last in chase rate. Luis Robert’s 40% chase rate led to a mammoth slump in September, and Tim Anderson has managed to excel despite a similar rate. Eloy Jimenez is also above 35%.
Jimenez ran on the field Monday and later told reporters that he feels “much better.” Jimenez acknowledged that he “couldn’t even walk” after suffering a mid-foot sprain on Thursday, which led to him missing the final weekend of the regular season, but he seems like a possible DH option for the White Sox in Game 1. Jimenez slashed .296/.332/.559 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI over 55 games this summer.
Leury Garcia hit in a simulated game Monday in Oakland. Garcia has been sidelined since August 10 because of a left thumb sprain that required surgery but might be available Tuesday.
ace Lucas Giolito on the mound. Giolito pitched six innings of two-run ball and struck out 11 against the Indians last Wednesday. It was the best start Giolito had since his no-hitter against the Pirates a month ago. He ended the regular season with a 3.48 ERA in 72 1/3 innings. He whiffed 97. Giolito’s .184 average against checks in at third in the AL. Giolito’s playoff debut also marks the right-hander’s first career start in Oakland.
Giolito will enter with a heavy advantage against the A’s lineup, which did not produce very well this season. Oakland ranked eighth in the AL in runs scored and 10th in OPS.
Why Bet on Oakland? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis
The A’s once again have an opportunity to join the Yankees and Cardinals as the lone teams to win 10 or more World Series. Oakland hasn’t won it all since 1990. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2013, and they haven’t won a playoff series since 2006.
Reliever J.B. Wendelken will be on the Athletics’ roster for the AL Wild Card round. Wendelken was placed on the injured list late last week for undisclosed reasons, but apparently everything has checked out fine and he’s ready to go. The 27-year-old posted a strong 1.80 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 25 innings during the regular season. The A’s led the majors with a sub-2.50 bullpen ERA and feature one of the game’s best closers in Liam Hendriks.
Hitting-wise, the A’s were middle of the pack against four-seam fastballs, but only the Rangers and Reds had a lower batting average than Oakland’s .173 mark against curveballs and sliders. Matt Olson and Marcus Semien both hit under .150 against breaking balls.
It’s young Jesus Luzardo (3-2) on the mound Tuesday. His most recent start was Sept. 19 vs. the Giants. Luzardo had seven strikeouts over six shutout innings. The left-hander scattered five hits and didn’t walk a batter. All five of the hits that he allowed were singles. He did pitch out of the bullpen on Friday for three innings.
Luzardo gets his first playoff start after an electric postseason debut of three shutout innings out of the bullpen in last year’s Wild Card Game. He finished second among rookies with 59 strikeouts, flashing brilliance at times in an up-and-down campaign that ultimately finished with a 4.12 ERA over 12 games (nine starts).
Expert PredictionWhite Sox 4, A’s 3
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