Both the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics are poised to complete a sweep of their opponent on Sunday.
Florida Marlins at Chicago White Sox
Florida managed to score just a single run on Saturday, ending a season long stretch of 23 scoreless innings. In its last six road games, the Marlins have been held to three runs or fewer five times (5-0-1 O/U). “We need to make an adjustment and start scoring runs again,” said 2B Dan Uggla. A win today would keep the team’s May record above .500 (11-10, +40), which is still a remarkable improvement from a disastrous 9-20 record in the month last season. Florida is 12-16 against right-handed starters this season (-600), but has garnered a 131-125 mark the last three seasons (+810).
The Marlins turn to ace Josh Johnson in hopes of ending their season-tying three-game losing streak, with Florida being able to cover the run-line in two earlier situations this year. Johnson has lasted at least six innings in each of his last seven starts, notching quality starts in each of those games and has come away with wins in his last four decisions. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts away from Sun Life Stadium, with the Marlins losing all three games (-440). He made four interleague starts in 2009, going 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA.
Chicago improved to 18-6 in its last 24 interleague games with a 4-1 home victory on Saturday over the Florida Marlins. The White Sox are now 25-12 in interleague play over the last three years (+1,320). OF Alex Rios continues to be a bright spot offensively, hitting .322 with six home runs and 13 stolen bases in his last 32 games. These numbers are a far cry from the team’s .236 combined batting average that ranks 28th in the majors, just ahead of Pittsburgh (.234) and Houston (.228). Even with the low average, the total is an even 20-20 (O/U) in White Sox games this year, as the team is able to manufacture runs with its speed. Chicago ranks second in the American League with 47 stolen bases this season.
White Sox SP Freddy Garcia is making his eighth start of the season, coming in with a 3-0 record and 3.38 ERA in his last five starts (+402). The right-hander is a dominating 19-7 with a 2.57 ERA lifetime in interleague play, but hasn’t made a start against an NL team since 2007. Despite posting an even 1-1 record in three daytime starts, he’s managed to produce a 2.70 ERA, allowing just 10 hits and six earned runs in 20 innings of work (6.14 ERA – Night). Garcia has been able to handcuff the No. 3 and No. 4 batters for the Marlins over his career. Florida SS Hanley Ramirez and 3B Jorge Cantu are hitting a combined .125 (3-for-16) against him.
Bettors will certainly take notice of the value the White Sox represent as a home underdog in this contest, especially with the Marlins winless in Johnson’s three starts away from home. Chicago is 21-8 the last three years as a home underdog of +100 to +125 (+1,430).
In terms of the total, the over is a perfect 3-0 with Johnson on road this season, but there’s been very little margin for error. In those three games, the teams have produced 26 runs, with the total combining to be set at 24.
San Francisco Giants at Oakland Athletics
San Francisco enters Sunday’s series finale a disappointing 1-5 on its current seven-game road trip (-458). The Giants have currently lost four straight in this recent stretch, managing to be outscored 28-9 in the process. After being shutout for the fourth time this year, the team knows how to bounce back with a 2-1 record in the following game this season (+140). They are also 54-37 in this role over the last three years (1,380). Out of all five pitchers that make up the Giants’ starting rotation, Sanchez is receiving lowest run support (2.52) by a wide margin, leading to a 3-5 O/U mark.
Giants SP Jonathan Sanchez has a losing 2-3 record in eight starts this season despite having a .306 ERA and .192 opponents’ average against. The young left-hander is making is making his third career start (eighth appearance) against Oakland, managing an even 1-1 record with a 3.65 ERA in his two starts. Sanchez is no stranger to interleague play, posting a 2-4 record and 4.10 ERA in six career starts. He carries an 8-7 overall record and 3.89 ERA in 48 daytime appearances (24 starts); with his earned-run-average being a full run lower than at night (4.99).
Oakland is looking to complete the series sweep, which is a drastic change of events compared to last season. The Athletics managed to post a 1-5 record against their Bay rivals in 2009, scoring just 12 runs in those six games. Much of the team’s success this season has come during the day, with Oakland producing a 11-6 record, which is third-best in the American League. The pitching staff has flourished in these games, compiling a 2.93 ERA during the day compared to 4.81 at night. Saturday’s game was the staff’s fifth shutout of the season and they have gone 1-3 in the previous four games after blanking an opponent (-240).
Athletics SP Ben Sheets is 1-0 with a 3.32 ERA and a .217 opponents’ batting average over his last three starts, after allowing eight runs in back-to-back starts. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts at home compared to 0-2 with a 9.78 ERA in four starts on the road. He has allowed 28 extra-base hits this season, which is the most in the American League. Sheets has posted a 4-2 record and 2.36 ERA in eight career starts against San Francisco (+200), including winning four in a row.
Bettors may actually find value in playing the slight home favorite in this contest, knowing the Giants have already been swept twice in a series this season. It’s very hard to ignore the Athletics 18-9 home record (+920) and the fact the team is a tremendous 68-33 in their last 101 interleague home games.
From a total perspective, the teams have combined to go 11-23 O/U in day games this season.