Gerrit Cole (10-2, 1.71 ERA) is on the hill for the Pittsburgh Pirates (38-27) as they square off against Jeff Samardzija (4-4, 4.84 ERA) and the Chicago White Sox (28-36) in the second of a two-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox lost the last game 3-2, continuing a six-game losing streak. Action begins at 8:10 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jun. 18 and can be seen on ROOT-PIT and WGN.
Samardzija is 4-4 with a 2.22 ERA in his appearances against the Pirates, but goes up against a good Pittsburgh offense which is batting .256 this season. Jose Abreu (.283, 33 Rs, 12 HRs, 40 RBIs) went 1 for 3 yesterday. Cole went 6.0 innings, surrendering one and striking out seven in a 4-3 win over the Phillies in his last outing. Andrew McCutchen (.296, 36 Rs, 8 HRs, 42 RBIs, 3 SBs) has been successful at the plate, going 2 for 4 yesterday with one run and one RBI.
Pittsburgh takes on Chicago as a -135 favorite. The Over/Under (O/U) for the matchup is sitting at seven runs. The White Sox have recorded an overall money line of -919 and have shown a weak performance as an underdog this season with a record of 12-22. Chicago has recorded a disappointing 1-5 record as the underdog over its last 10 games. The White Sox have seen a decline in scoring as of late, averaging 2.6 runs during the last 10 games compared to their season average of 3.5 runs per game. Chicago's pitchers fall apart when National League teams are on the field. Its average runs allowed per game rises to 5.4 against NL teams, compared to its 4.6 season average. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the White Sox, who rank fourth in the AL in strikeouts per game with 8.2.
As for their opponent, Pittsburgh is coming in with an overall money line of +532 and an impressive record of 31-15 as the favorite. They played solid baseball as the favorite over their last 10 games with a 7-2 record, and a 7-3 record SU. Offensively, the Pirates have really sputtered in the last 10 games. They have decreased their season average of 4.1 runs per game by averaging 3.0 during that stretch. The Pirates are tough outs for opponents, ranking fifth in the NL with 8.9 hits per game. The Pirates are an excellent base stealing team with 51 stolen bases, ranking fourth in the MLB. Pittsburgh's pitching staff is one of the top in the NL, with a 2.76 ERA. When it comes to preventing batters from getting on base, the Pirates are one of the best in the league with a WHIP of 1.18 for the season. The Pirates have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an NL-best 8.2 strikeouts per road game, making them one of the top five teams in the league.
The Pirates have the edge in the season series, 3-0. The White Sox have a 23-28 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Cole takes the mound. Samardzija (RHP) will be on the hill against the Pirates, who have a 30-23 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - PIT, O/U - Over
In their last game, the Pirates won by a margin of one run. The White Sox are 11-10 in one-run games. The Pirates have an 11-11 record in close games.
The White Sox are 4-2 in games that go into extra innings. Meanwhile, the Pirates are 2-6 in such matchups.
The Pirates are coming into this game after allowing two walks during their last outing. The White Sox have a 15-29 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
When they are outhit, the White Sox are 6-29. The Pirates have a 6-18 record when opponents outhit them.
Chicago and Pittsburgh both rank near the bottom of the league in home runs. Chicago sits at 28th with 45 home runs this season and Pittsburgh ranks 22nd with 53.
Ranking 11th, Chicago is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.10 per game. Pittsburgh ranks in the top five at fifth with 8.94.
Ranking 29th, Chicago is near the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.638). Pittsburgh ranks in the bottom half at 20th with an OPS of .697.
When the Pirates allow at least one home run, they are 9-18, well-matched with the White Sox who are 14-26 when allowing at least one homer.