I might need to retire. After a fantastic first-half of the season, I’m as cold as cold can be the past three weeks. As Stuart Scott so poetically put it time-and-time again on SportsCenter, I’m as cooooool as the other side of the pillow — except in a bad way. Still, glass half-full, we’re sitting at 40-38-1 on article plays for the whole of 2023. There’s time to recover.
Here’s what I’m looking at on tonight’s extremely small MLB card.
This game should be low-scoring. Without getting too statistical or complex, let’s just start by stating the facts. Tanner Bibee and Dylan Cease are good pitchers, while the Guardians and White Sox have rostered two of the most underwhelming lineups in baseball so far in 2023. That’s a formula that should lead to some zeroes on the scoreboard.
“Good” might actually be underselling Bibee’s recent run. The rookie has been phenomenal in his last five appearances, pitching to a 1.21 ERA, a 2.75 FIP and a 28.8% strikeout rate. I would anticipate that run of success continuing on Thursday, as the White Sox have struggled to hit right-handed pitching all season long. To wit, the team ranks 29th in wRC+ within the split (83), sitting ahead of only the lowly Royals.
Cleveland really hasn’t been all that much better against RHPs, as its .131 ISO is tied for the lowest mark in baseball with the the similarly lowly Athletics. It’s hard to score runs when you’re not getting extra-base hits. It’s also just hard to score runs off Cease. After some early-season issues, Cease has found himself the past two months, registering a 2.68 FIP and a 33.2% strikeout rate in his last nine outings. He’s locked in.
It’s the same bet, but different. Obviously the spirit of this prop is very similar to the under I just explained, but who I am to look a gift horse in the mouth? While you could nitpick Bibee’s splits and say he’s tended to be at his best pitching in Cleveland, I remain nonplussed by a White Sox lineup that owns a .128 ISO and an 81 wRC+ since the All-Star break. Bibee’s gone under this number in 11 of his 15 career starts. The 24-year-old is as solid as they come.
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