Targeting pitching matchups is one of the most consistent ways to pick winners in MLB action, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here today.
Mike Clevinger is no longer the borderline ace he once was with Cleveland, and his stats last season were probably worse than you realize. Opposing Clevinger and Chicago will be Pittsburgh starter Vince Velasquez – a spot starter/reliever who is providing depth to one of the weakest rotations in baseball.
Yet the over/under total runs scored is only 8.5? What gives? Let’s figure out if the value here is actually worth it.
White Sox vs. Pirates Odds
White Sox vs. Pirates Prediction
Velasquez has been one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball for a few years now. He hasn’t completed a season with an ERA under 4.00 at any point in his career and he has just one sub-5.00 ERA season in his past five.
He also doesn’t typically last deep into games, evidenced by his 86-pitch outing in which he went 4 ⅔ innings in his first of the season against the Reds. Last season, Velasquez pitched deeper than the fifth inning just ONCE.
The Pirates offense, however, has been off to a hot start (four runs or more in five of seven games) and that might be one of the reasons they are only slight underdogs here.
There’s good reason to think this hot offense could chase Clevinger early. Clevinger had a 4.33 ERA last season and averaged less than five innings per start.
If Clevinger exits before the sixth, Pittsburgh will get the chance to feast on what’s been the WORST bullpen in baseball through a week-plus of games. The White Sox bullpen owns a 9.36 ERA this season and had a 4.00 ERA last season (19th in MLB).
The Pirates’ bullpen has actually been the fourth-best in baseball this year, but that could be simply due to a small sample size, as they ranked second-to-last in 2022.
In a game that features suspect pitching on both sides and a pair of hot offenses, I’m going to take the Over 8.5 runs here and stay away from picking either side.
Pick: Over 8.5 Runs
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.