MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians

Date/Time: July 25, 7:10 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Chris Sale (8-5, 2.86) vs. Carlos Carrasco (10-7, 3.94)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Cleveland -110

Total: 6.5

The Cleveland Indians were expected to contend, not just in the American League Central, but for the World Series. If they lose to Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, they will find themselves in last place in the division. Those are the stakes for the third game of a four-game weekend series between these AL Central rivals. Carlos Carrasco will try to stop the bleeding for the Indians, who have dropped the first two games of this series and have scored just one run in 18 innings.

The amount of disappointment from both fan bases regarding this season has to be boiling over. The White Sox are in a position to sell and the Indians are putting themselves in that same position. Jeff Samardzija is a guarantee to be gone from the South Side and the Indians are quickly finding out that their surplus of starting pitching may be better served as trade currency for offense. One of the pitchers in question will be on the hill on Saturday. His assignment will be to match one of the game’s best pitch for pitch.

Chris Sale is on the hill for the White Sox on Saturday and he can pitch the White Sox to a series win and into fourth place. Sale has been dominant this season in his 18 starts. A lack of run support has been the only blemish for Sale, but that’s definitely out of his control. The lanky lefty has an 8-5 record with a 2.86 ERA, 2.38 FIP, 2.39 xFIP, and the best strikeout rate of his career. Sale has already been worth more than four wins above replacement player and has a legitimate case at the Cy Young Award.

Sale gave up 13 of his 40 earned runs in 22 innings in April. Since then, Sale has a 2.34 ERA over 103.2 innings of work with a .197/.239/.322 slash against. He has 143 strikeouts against 19 walks in that span. The White Sox have scored three runs or less in 11 of Sale’s 18 starts this season, which explains the lackluster record, but pitcher wins don’t really mean anything in this day and age. Sale has struck out 10 or more in a start 10 times and struck out 10 or more in eight straight starts earlier this season.

Carlos Carrasco has been the victim of a lot of bad luck this season. He has proven that his second half in 2014 was not a fluke and has actually gotten better. Carrasco’s 3.94 ERA is accompanied by a 2.81 FIP and a 2.73 xFIP. His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.33 is one of the best in baseball. The problem for Carrasco is that he owns a .334 BABIP against because of some bad Indians defense earlier in the season and some other bad luck. Carrasco has repeated last season’s swing-and-miss rate and has arguably the best slider in the game.

An 11.5 percent HR/FB% has also been a bit of a problem for Carrasco, mostly because of the batted balls that have found holes. This should be a good matchup for him, but the White Sox offense, which has struggled all season long, has exploded for 14 runs in the first two games of this series. They “scored” six off of Corey Kluber on Friday night, though the bullpen failed to do its job and the White Sox got some fortunate hits in the latter stages of the game.

MLB Prediction: Chicago White Sox

The Indians offense is back to showing zero signs of life and that’s not a good thing against Chris Sale. Carlos Carrasco is having a fine season, but the margin of error is so paper thin for Indians starters right now that one fat mistake over the middle of the plate could be the end of the game.