Chicago White Sox @ Cleveland Guardians (12:05 ET)
Favorite: White Sox -125
Pitchers: Dylan Cease (2.09 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) vs. Aaron Civale (5.63 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
Aaron Civale could not have started his season much worse with an ERA of 9.85 after 6 appearances. He's been steadily improving since May and in his two appearances in August (albeit against the Tigers) he's allowed just 6 hits and 3 runs over 10 innings. Civale is a fastball-heavy pitcher throwing them nearly two-thirds of the time between his cutter and four-seamer, but he makes his name with a filthy curveball that has returned only a .108 batting average. If he can mix it in well like he has lately he could be in line for a good game against a White Sox lineup that can go dormant.
Civale had a bad start to the season and so did Dylan Cease in comparison to the numbers he has put up throughout the season. With a season-long ERA of 3.69 through the first two months, Cease had room to improve if he were to reach the potential many dub him for. Boy has he done that. He's allowed more than one run just once in his 14 outings since the beginning of June and the White Sox need him desperately to pull through with another masterful performance as the race for the division is as tight as ever. Factor in that Cease has performed better away from Chicago (1.34 ERA) and I think he's destined to have another great outing, while Civale's recent statistics are probably fool's gold and he'll revert back to allowing a few runs each start. Give me the White Sox in the first five innings.
Pick: White Sox F5 ML -134 (1.5u)
Charles Rex Arbogast - AP Photo
Texas Rangers @ Minnesota Twins (2:10 ET)
Favorite: Twins -195
Pitchers: Kohei Arihara (4.77 ERA, 1.94 WHIP) vs. Joe Ryan (3.92 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
Before you look too much into Arihara's stats before, that is all from one start against the Athletics. Arihara made the move to the MLB in 2020 after spending a long time in the Japanese professional league, and the 30-year-old has spent most of his time this year in the AAA until recently. In his time in the majors last year he struggled massively allowing a 6.64 ERA over 40+ innings, allowing over 2 home runs per nine innings. Safe to say, Arihara's style is less about swing-and-miss and moreso pitches to soft contact, but that can get him in trouble against a side like the Twins who don't strikeout much and have good contact hitters throughout the lineup.
Joe Ryan has struggled a bit lately allowing 5+ runs in two of his last four outings, but they feel more like anamolies than the norm. The instances came against the Padres and Dodgers, two teams who can get to anybody on their day. Additionally, other than those two outings he's allowed just 8 runs over his last 6 starts. Expect more of the same against a Rangers team not fighting for much and slumping offensively. Give me the Twins to be leading after five innings.
Pick: Twins F5 -.5 -134 (1u)