MLB Regular Season
Matchup: Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs
Date/Time: July 11, 4:05 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Chris Sale (7-4, 2.80) vs. Jon Lester (4-7, 3.48)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: Cubs -115
The only pitching matchup on Saturday with two left-handers is easily the top pitching matchup of the day. Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox battle Jon Lester and the Chicago Cubs in the middle game of a three-game weekend set. The White Sox drew first blood on Friday with a 1-0 series-opening victory behind some bobbing and weaving from starter Carlos Rodon and some strong relief work. The White Sox improved to 17-27 on the road with the win and also moved above the .500 mark in interleague play at 7-6.
It could have been a very frustrating loss for the White Sox. The offensively-challenged White Sox are now 7-2 with just 27 runs scored in the month of July. On the season, the White Sox are 40-44, but they have a -75 run differential because they are only scoring 3.4 runs per game. The South Siders hit into five double plays on Friday, but pushed across the game’s only run in the eighth inning. The Cubs, meanwhile, managed just three hits and squandered seven walks. They were shutout for the eighth time on the season.
It won’t get any easier for the Cubs offense on Saturday with Chris Sale on the mound. Sale has been dominant this season. Over 16 starts, Sale is just 7-4 (#KillTheWin) with a 2.80 ERA, a 2.31 FIP, and a 2.35 xFIP. The White Sox have scored 52 runs for Sale over those 16 starts and he has taken a no-decision on three occasions when he has allowed one or no runs. Sale struck out 10 or more in eight straight starts from May 23 to June 30. In total, Sale has 147 strikeouts against just 22 walks on the season. After failing to score off of Carlos Rodon, the Cubs offense, which entered the game fourth in wOBA against left-handed pitching, dropped a spot to fifth.
Jon Lester’s first season with the Chicago Cubs has not gone as planned. The Cubs have scored 2.58 runs per game in Lester’s starts and have been held to four or fewer runs in 14 of his 17 starts. After finishing the month of April with a 6.23 ERA, Lester has been very good for the North Siders. He has a 2.76 ERA with a .235/.296/.394 slash line against over his last 81.2 innings of work. Unfortunately, the Cubs are just 7-6 in those 13 games because of a lack of offense.
The White Sox are historically bad against left-handed pitching this season. They rank dead last in nearly every offensive category against lefties, including wOBA, wRC+, BB%, OBP, SLG, and OPS. The White Sox entered play on Friday with a .257 wOBA and a 56 wRC+ against lefties. That means that they are 44 percent below league average against southpaws. To put that wOBA into perspective, Chris Owings of the Arizona Diamondbacks has a .253 wOBA this season. Billy Hamilton has a .251 wOBA. It is, however, worth mentioning that the opposition is running at will against Lester. He and personal catcher David Ross have allowed 24 stolen bases on 28 attempts.
Pick: Chicago Cubs
This is a hard game to pick because Chris Sale is dominant, but his team is historically bad against guys that throw with their left hand, and Jon Lester is one of those guys. The Cubs had some opportunities against Carlos Rodon but couldn’t cash in on Friday. Both bullpens are solid, but the Cubs would seem to have a much better chance of doing some damage against the opposing starting pitcher in this one.