MLB Network will feature the final game of the White Sox vs. Red Sox series on Thursday night. The Red Sox have taken two out of three so far in this series, including a 10-1 blowout last night. The White Sox have been one of the best road teams in baseball this year. Can they bounce back to split the series?
The Chicago White Sox have led almost the entire way this season in the AL Central. They still have the lead, but they have to be a little worried about the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians, who are both playing terrific baseball right now. The same players who were major disappointments in 2011 have been the team’s leaders in 2012. Adam Dunn leads the team with 28 homers and 65 RBI’s. Dunn batted a pathetic .159 with just 11 homers in 2011. Alex Rios batted just .227 last year, but he is hitting .316 this season. Paul Konerko leads the team with a .322 average. Konerko is a great clutch hitter in the middle of the order. The White Sox are averaging 4.75 runs per game this year.
Jose Quintana has been a pleasant surprise for the White Sox in 2012. Quintana, a rookie; is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA in his first nine starts in the majors. He’ll be tested in a big way in this outing, because the Red Sox have punished left-handers all season. Many overlook it, but the White Sox have committed only 37 errors all season. Great defense has helped this team in a big way.
Boston was just starting to get healthy, and then they lost their best hitter. David Ortiz was placed on the disabled list yesterday with a heel injury. Ortiz leads the team in almost every major offensive category this year, so that will definitely hurt this offense. Still, the team is glad to have Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back in the lineup. Dustin Pedroia is expected to be activated from the DL in time to play in this game. Maybe the best news of all for this offense is that Adrian Gonzalez is absolutely on fire at the plate now. After a slow start to the season, Gonzalez is now all the way up to .296.
Clay Buchholz is 8-3 with a horrible 5.54 ERA this year. Clearly, he has been the beneficiary of some huge run support from the Red Sox offense. Buchholz actually had an ERA well above 7 as of a few weeks ago, so he has looked much better of late. If the Red Sox are going to make a playoff charge, he’ll have to be a major contributor.
MLB Free Pick: Under 10.5
Buchholz has been better of late, and Quintana has been tough all year. The offenses are likely to put up several runs here, but 10.5 is an awfully high number. I think the value is on the under.