(Jose Abreu photo courtesy Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports)
Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.
When and Where: Tuesday, July 2, Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Ill., 8:10 p.m. EDT.
Reynaldo Lopez looks to get the better of Matthew Boyd for the second time this season as he leads the Chicago White Sox into the opener of a four-game series versus the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
The two faced off on the South Side of Chicago on April 28, with the White Sox (39-42) emerging as 4-1 winners as Lopez struck out a career-high 14 — three more than his previous best — in six innings while conceding only an unearned run.
Boyd’s lone mistakes came in the first inning when he allowed both his runs on the day and regrouped to strike out nine over six innings for Detroit (27-52). Both pitchers, though, have struggled of late as Lopez has not won in three starts and Boyd is winless in five.
Boyd trying to get back on track
Boyd (5-6, 3.72 ERA) endured a winless June, going 0-3 with a 5.90 ERA and having his overall earned run average spike by nearly a full run. Keeping the ball in the park was a major problem all month as the left-hander was tagged for 10 homers in 29 innings.
He has given up three homers in each of his last two starts, including Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to Texas in which he served up three fifth-inning solo shots. Boyd gave up four runs and five hits in seven innings while striking out 11.
“He just got some balls up against a team that hits the ball in the seats,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire told the club’s official website. “That’s what these guys do. They live by that over there, and they made him pay for about three or four bad pitches.”
Despite a 2-5 record and 4.30 ERA lifetime versus the White Sox, Boyd has pitched well against them of late, going 2-1 with a 0.86 ERA in the last three. The lefty has struck out 20 in 21 innings in that span while limiting White Sox hitters to a .164 average.
The fifth-year starter is 0-5 with a 6.23 ERA in seven lifetime starts in Chicago, losing the last five.
Lopez also looking to end struggles
Lopez‘s win against Detroit came seven days after a loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park in which he was reached for three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 4-3 White Sox defeat.
Like his Tigers counterpart, Lopez (4-7, 6.12) has gopher ball issues, with at least one pitch leaving the yard in nine consecutive starts. The right-hander was in line for a win Wednesday at Boston, limiting the damage to a degree as J.D. Martinez’s round-tripper accounted for two of the three runs he gave up in six innings.
The White Sox bullpen, however, squandered a two-run lead before recovering to post an 8-7 victory. Lopez’s home run troubles are slightly worse at home with a 2.26 rate per nine innings compared to his overall mark of 2.14 on the season.
Lopez’s split of his two starts versus Detroit moved his record to 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA in nine career matchups versus the Tigers. He has been tough on them at home, going 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in four starts while fanning 28 in 26 innings.
Nicholas Castellanos has given Lopez fits, going 10 for 27 (.370) with six doubles, but Miguel Cabrera is on the other end of the spectrum. The veteran slugger has been held to a single in 10 at-bats while striking out five times.
The White Sox are:
- 5-1 in their last six home games vs. left-handed starters.
- 11-5 in their last 16 home games.
- 5-1 in their last six games vs. starters with a sub-1.15 WHIP.
The Tigers are:
- 0-7 in their last seven games vs. AL Central teams.
- 0-7 in Boyd’s last seven road starts vs. the White Sox.
- 4-13 in Boyd’s last 17 road starts vs. sub-.500 teams.
White Sox +0.5 runs (-136)
There was some consideration to flipping this and laying the half-run with the White Sox, but there is not enough trust in Lopez to keep the ball in the park to feel confident in the home team grabbing a lead. The Tigers, though, have trailed after five innings in seven of their last eight games (0-7-1) and have split their five outcomes versus Chicago (2-2-1).
While the trends appear to favor Lopez with Boyd’s struggles in this matchup, the conservative play feels safer.
UNDER 9 runs (-105)
The under is strongly trending with Lopez, especially against the Tigers with a 4-0 mark in his last four home matchups and 5-2-1 in the last eight overall. The under is also 6-1 in his last seven home starts versus sub-.500 teams and 10-2 in the last 12.
The under is also enjoying a nice stretch with the Tigers, delivering in five of the last six overall. The under is 5-2 in Boyd’s last seven starts against sub-.500 teams and 6-2-2 in Detroit’s last 10 against teams with losing records.
White Sox (-110)
Whether it is trade rumors or something else, Boyd just has not been able to find a groove of late. Pitching in a place he has experienced no success is not exactly helpful, and Lopez’s recent track record against the Tigers is another mark against picking Detroit.
While it barely crossed the threshold of being a quality start, Lopez did pitch well enough to win his last outing. If the White Sox right-hander can again limit the damage via the long ball, Chicago should be able to open this series with a victory.
Abreu to hit HR (+290)
Given Abreu’s history of success against Boyd coupled with the left-hander’s rate of 1.5 homers allowed per nine innings, this is a good medium-risk, high-reward pick worth a flyer.
Abreu is 8 for 15 with a homer in his last four games, batting .409 (9 for 22) with a homer versus Detroit on the season, and while only nine of his 19 homers have come at home, he is hitting .279 in Chicago compared to .257 on the road.
Tigers UNDER 2.5 runs first 5 innings (-140)
This is a confidence pick in Lopez, whose unsightly ERA hides the fact he has held six of his last seven opponents under three runs in the first five innings. That offers hope to continue a trend in which the Tigers have scored one or no runs in the first five innings in seven of their last eight games.