Two second-place teams do battle in the first game of a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field
Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles starts a seven-game road trip tonight leading into the All-Star break, after posting a dominating 11-0 home victory over the Kansas City Royals on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. The Angels also made some moves to boost the team’s offense over the weekend, but will play out the week with a shorter pitching staff. “We’re looking right now to get through the week with 11 pitchers,” manager Mike Scioscia said. The Halos have won five of their last six road games and are an MLB-best 12-3 in their last 15 road contests. Overall, the team is an incredible 122-86 on the road the past three years (+4,330). Los Angeles also brings a 25-12 record into this contest since May 25, which is the best mark in the American League. The club leads the season series 2-0 over the White Sox, picking up a two-game sweep on May 19-20.
Angels starting pitcher Scott Kazmir is an even 7-7 with a 5.67 ERA in 15 starts this season and comes in dropping his last two starts. In those outings, he has allowed 10 earned runs and 12 hits in just 8.1 innings of work. The left-hander had won his four previous outings before this recent losing streak. “Some of the issues that have plagued Scott, it’s been a little redundant,” Scioscia said. Kazmir brings a 5-3 record and 4.73 ERA in nine road starts to U.S. Cellular Field. In eight career starts against the White Sox, he is 3-3 with a 4.66 ERA, including an even 1-1 mark and 5.68 ERA in three starts on this turf.
Chicago stands just a game out in the AL Central divisional race, as they get set to gain revenge against a club that swept them in a two-game set earlier this year. Expect the series to be close, with the White Sox last eight games being decided by three runs or less. The club’s past five losses have been by a total of eight runs. Each of the previous two meetings between the Angels were decided by just a single run. The offense will be led by first baseman Paul Konerko against Kazmir this evening, going 9-for-20 with two home runs against the left-hander in his career. Chicago has provided bettors with a minor profit in producing an 8-5 record as a home favorite of -125 to -150 this season (+100).
White Sox starter Gavin Floyd is 3-7 with a 4.66 ERA in 16 starts this season, but has led the team to three straight victories. In those games, the White Sox have managed to outscore the opposition by just four runs. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in eight home starts this season, fanning 45 batters and issuing 18 walks in 47 innings. Floyd has a losing 1-3 mark and 4.14 ERA in five lifetime starts against the Angels, but has held the lineup to a .215 batting average. He has two compete games amongst those starts. His 2.98 run support average is the second-lowest among American League starting pitchers.
Bettors will find no edge in playing either team under the lights in this matchup, with the Angels standing even at 28-28 (-400) and the Sox being 24-29 (-780). Los Angeles brings an intimidating 76-41 record after shutting out an opponent, with the total being 54-60 O/U in those games. Watch the line before making a decision, with the White Sox being 29-37 O/U as a home favorite of -125 to -150, but the over has cashed in 28 of their last 40 home games if the line moves above that mark.