The Milwaukee Brewers have held the Chicago White Sox offense down in a big way in a couple of lopsided victories. We’ll see what happens on Sunday Night Baseball when Lance Lynn and Brandon Woodruff get together to finish off a series that has been big on starting pitching and big on relief work, at least for one of the two teams.
The Brewers have taken a little bit of money in the betting markets today and are now favored in the -135 range at BetUS Sportsbook with a total of 7.5 as they look for the sweep of the division leaders in the Junior Circuit’s Central Division.
Chicago White Sox
Facing Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes does not make for a fun weekend. The White Sox have done very little against those two hurlers and are at risk of getting swept by the Brewers on Sunday. Fortunately for Chicago, it hasn’t mattered in the grand scheme of things in the AL Central, as the Indians are fading fast and the hard-charging Tigers are really the only team to worry about.
This does exacerbate an ongoing issue for the White Sox, though. They are 41-16 against teams with losing records and just 17-24 against teams .500 or better. They have not played well on the road at 23-23 and have not played well when stepping up in class. Those are two things that need to change before the playoffs.
The White Sox have contended with a lot of injuries this season, but still rank third in wOBA on offense. Even though they’ve done nothing in this series, they’ve still been able to perform well on the whole. One growing area of concern is a lack of power. The White Sox are second in OBP and just outside the top five in batting average, but rank ninth in SLG.
They have struggled against teams with good pitching because you can’t manufacture runs by stringing hits together against those teams. You have to hit the long ball and the White Sox haven’t done that. It doesn’t appear that they will tonight, so that puts Lance Lynn in a tough spot with limited run support. Lynn has a 1.94 ERA with a 3.27 FIP on the season, so he is something of a regression candidate with an 87.4% LOB%.
The White Sox bullpen has been the real problem of late. Chicago’s pen ranks seventh in fWAR for the season, but is now up to a 4.22 ERA with an ERA well north of 5.00 over the last six weeks.
The Brewers bullpen has been a strength in this series. It is usually a strength and remains one in spite of the injury to Devin Williams. Milwaukee got three shutout innings last night to secure the win and the Brewers haven’t even had to use Josh Hader to secure any of these games yet. That means their best weapon is ready and raring to go if called upon tonight.
The Brewers have scored 13 runs in this series to Chicago’s two. Milwaukee’s offense has really taken off lately. Newcomer Rowdy Tellez hit a couple of home runs yesterday and the team has gotten a lot of contributions from rookie call-up Trent Taylor, trade acquisition Willy Adames, and others. Milwaukee has rebuilt the offense as the season has gone along with great success.
The full-season numbers don’t really tell the story, as the Brewers rank 25th in SLG and 19th in wOBA, but this has been one of the league’s better offenses over the last month and a half. The Brewers do walk a lot and they’ve started really cashing in on those opportunities.
Brandon Woodruff doesn’t really need a lot of run support, but he’ll certainly take it. Woodruff has a 2.04 ERA with a 2.67 FIP on the season. He’s struck out over 30% of batters faced and has a .221 BABIP against. There are some modest regression signs in the profile, but nothing to be too concerned about and he has allowed two runs or fewer in 16 of his 19 starts.
White Sox vs. Brewers Free Pick
So far, the White Sox have been no match for the Brewers and really no match for most of the good teams that they have played. After a big series win against Houston, they haven’t followed it up well with another litmus test against the Brewers. Lynn’s regression signs and Milwaukee’s bullpen advantage are enough to put me back on the Brewers again in this one.