MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox

Date/Time: July 29, 7:10 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Jose Quintana (5-9, 3.56) vs. Rick Porcello (5-10, 5.51)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Boston -125

Total: 8.5

It would be really beneficial for the Boston Red Sox if Rick Porcello could finish the season on a strong note. The Red Sox acquired Porcello in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers over the offseason. Porcello immediately got a four-year, $82.5M extension and has responded by posting a 5.51 ERA, 4.42 FIP, and 3.88 xFIP over 19 starts. He’ll get a chance to improve on those numbers against a subpar Chicago White Sox lineup on Wednesday. Jose Quintana will take the mound for the White Sox in this battle of colorful footwear.

The White Sox and Red Sox are both going to have very quiet trade deadlines unless something unexpected happens. The White Sox are very likely to trade impending free agent Jeff Samardzija. The Red Sox could do the same with Mike Napoli. Other than that, neither team has a whole lot of flexibility or desire to be busy. Unless Boston intends to jump into the Cole Hamels sweepstakes, there aren’t many deals that can be made involving these two teams.

It’s hard to say that a team with a sub-.500 record after almost 100 games has overachieved, but a case can be made that the White Sox have. Prior to their four-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians last weekend, the White Sox had one of the biggest Pythagorean Win-Loss record to actual record discrepancy in baseball. They aren’t good defensively and haven’t hit well, but they could flirt with .500 by the end of the season. Jose Quintana is a big reason why. Quintana has been very good over his 20 starts with a 3.56 ERA, 3.11 FIP, and 3.37 xFIP, identical to last season’s xFIP. Quintana has been victimized by the bad defense with a .336 BABIP against, but at least it hasn’t affected his ability to strand runners.

It’s hard to believe that Quintana is only four years into being a full-time starter and that he made only nine starts at the Double-A level before getting called up in 2012. Since then, pitching coach Don Cooper has molded him into an outstanding middle of the rotation starter. Quintana has good control, slightly above average command, and is on pace to work his third straight 200-inning season. He has the best swing-and-miss rate of his career this season to go along with the best walk rate of his career.

It seemed like everything had come together for Rick Porcello. His 2014 season set a career high in wins and a career-best in ERA. As you know if you read our stuff at BangTheBook and listen to The Bettor’s Box, there are better indicators of performance than those two stats. In any event, Porcello’s 3.53 FIP and 3.19 xFIP in 2013 and 3.67 FIP and 3.68 xFIP in 2014 did suggest that he was settling into a good place. Not to mention, he had consistently posted high ERAs and BABIPs against because of the collection of butchers on the Detroit infield.

But, in 2015, some of those improvements have taken a step back. The biggest one has been command. Porcello’s home run rate has ballooned this season along with a drop in ground balls. Normally a HR/FB will normalize a little bit with a higher sample size of fly balls, but Porcello just kept giving up home runs. In 2009, Porcello allowed 23 during his rookie season after coming up straight from High-A. He will surpass that this season for the first time in his career. His ground ball rate is down to 43.2 percent, the lowest of his career by far. The Red Sox will hope that he can make some mechanical adjustments entering next season.

MLB Prediction: Chicago White Sox

Early season offensive troubles seem to be normalizing a little bit for the White Sox right now and Porcello’s command problems could have an impact in this game. Jose Quintana is definitely an afterthought on this White Sox team and he shouldn’t be. The defensive issues can be somewhat mitigated by the small dimensions of Fenway Park and the White Sox have a solid bullpen. I’m not ready to believe in Rick Porcello, even though his last three starts have been better.