AL Division Series Game 1 White Sox at Astros

AL Division Series Game 1: White Sox at Astros | MLB Game Preview

The Chicago White Sox won their last World Series in 2005 when they swept the Houston Astros, who were in the National League then. The clubs haven’t met in the postseason since but face off in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday in Houston. The Astros are solid favorites on the MLB odds.

How to Bet White Sox at Astros MLB Odds & TV Info

Season Series

The Astros swept the White Sox four games in Houston late in the first half of the season and then Chicago won two of three at home vs. the Astros to open the second half. Hall of Fame White Sox manager Tony La Russa (77 years old) and Astros manager Dusty Baker (72) are the two oldest managers in MLB. They battled for years in the NL Central when La Russa was with the Cardinals and Baker was with the Cubs.

Why Bet on Chicago?

The White Sox have made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history. They finished with a 93-69 record. Those wins are the most since 2005 (99) and are tied with the 1906 and 1915 White Sox for 13th-most in club history.

Chicago never had a losing month and the club’s longest losing streak was five in a row from June 17-22. Four of those losses came in Houston, with the Astros outscoring the White Sox, 27-8. Manager Tony La Russa’s crew featured the best AL home record at 53-28, while finishing 40-41 on the road.

Chicago enters the playoffs having homered in 13 of its last 14 home games (25 homers total) and has recorded multi-homer efforts in seven of those games. Luis Robert has homered in four of his last eight games (five homers total). He hit .350/.389/.622 (63-180) with 13 doubles, 12 homers, 35 RBI and 31 runs scored in 43 games since returning from the injured list on 8/9. Tim Anderson, meanwhile, batted .362/.381/.592 (47-130) with seven home runs, 20 RBI and 28 runs scored over his last 29 games of the season.

The White Sox hit four-plus homers 12 times in ’21, including 10 times since June 30. They finished 79-27 when hitting a home run, 43-6 when hitting multiple homers and 14-42 when going homerless.

It will probably will be Lance Lynn on the mound but it’s possible it could be Lucas Giolito. Lynn (11-9) owns a sparkling 2.69 ERA, helping Sox pitchers to a No. 1 ranking in the major leagues in FanGraphs wins above replacement and strikeouts. The AL Cy Young favorite in late August, Lynn has tailed off over his last four outings while giving up 14 earned runs over 21 innings. In his last start, at Cleveland, Lynn allowed 6 runs in 6 innings and experienced some back discomfort.

Giolito missed the first two weeks of September with a hamstring injury but Giolito looked healthy and revitalized over his last three starts while going 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 15.1 innings.

Why Bet on Houston?

The Astros are headed to the postseason for the fifth straight season (2017-21), which extends their franchise record, and for the sixth time in the last seven seasons (since 2015). This is the third straight season — and fourth time in the last five seasons — that the Astros have had a Majors’ lowest strikeout percentage. They led the majors in runs (863) and wRC+ (116), were second in wOBA (.336) and OPS (.783) and ninth in home runs (221)

The Astros have played in 63 playoff games since the start of the 2015 season, which is second only to the Dodgers (70). Their core players — Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman — have played in four consecutive ALCS and two World Series that went seven games. Thus, Houston has playoff experience no other AL team can boast.

When it comes to close games, the Astros were so-so in the regular season, going 30-34 in games decided by two runs or fewer. They’re at their best when they’re scoring runs in bunches and blowing teams out, which they did quite a bit. Houston went 83-24 when scoring at least four runs in a game.

It’s Lance McCullers Jr. on the mound. McCullers Jr. pitched six innings of two-run ball for a victory in his final regular-season start last Thursday vs. the Rays.

McCullers, Jr. had an outstanding 2021 season, posting a 13-5 record in 28 starts with a 3.16 ERA. As one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball this season, he was tops in the AL in opponents batting average (.205), opponents OPS (.628) and hits per 9 IP (6.76) while ranking second in ERA (3.16), tied for second in winning pct. (.722) and T-5th in wins (13).

McCullers was edged out for the ERA lead among the Astros’ regular rotation members this season, as Framber Valdez beat him by a very narrow margin of 3.14 to 3.16. Valdez will pitch Game 2.

Game Trends

  • White Sox are 35-17 in their last 52 during game 1 of a series.
  • White Sox are 4-0 in their last 4 games following an off day.
  • White Sox are 6-15 in the last 21 meetings.
  • Astros are 8-1 in their last 9 Divisional Playoff home games.
  • Astros are 93-38 in their last 131 during game 1 of a series.
  • Astros are 36-17 in their last 53 home games vs. a team with a winning record.

Expert Prediction: Astros 5, White Sox 3


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