NEW YORK YANKEES (72-51)
at CHICAGO WHITE SOX (67-55)
First pitch: Wednesday, 8:10 p.m. EDT
Line: Chicago -135, New York +125, Total: 8˝
Phil Hughes will look to help the Yankees avoid a sweep against the White Sox, who took the first two games of this series by a combined score of 16-9, when the division leaders wrap up their series Wednesday night.
Phil Hughes finally earned a win in his last start, snapping a streak of two consecutive starts in which he did not make it five innings, allowing 11 runs in 8.1 innings. Overall, Hughes has a 4.23 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 2012, but those numbers balloon to a 5.31 ERA and 1.46 WHIP on the road. He faces the dominant Chris Sale, who has a 2.74 ERA and 1.05 WHIP as a starter this season, and a sparkling 1.80 ERA at home. With these two teams and pitchers, this is setting up to be an affair with lots of long balls. Sale has allowed just 13 home runs on the season, but has given up two bombs in each of his past three starts, which does not bode well against a Yankees club that leads the majors in home runs (192). However, the White Sox are second in home runs (163), and Hughes has given up the third-most dingers of any MLB pitcher (28). The White Sox appear poised to tee off against Hughes in this one, take slightly favored CHICAGO here to complete the sweep.
This pair of three-star FoxSheets trends also favor the White Sox:
Play On - Home teams (CHICAGO WHITE SOX) - poor hitting team (AVG <=.260) against a decent starting pitcher (ERA=4.20 to 4.70) -AL, with a starting pitcher who strikes out 5 or more batters per start. (95-37 since 1997.) (72%, +49.6 units. Rating = 3*).
Play Against - All underdogs with a money line of +125 to +175 (N.Y. YANKEES) - offensive team averaging 4.7 to 5.2 runs/game, against a good starter (ERA<=4.20) (AL), starting a pitcher who walked <=1 hitters each of his last 2 outings. (37-7 over the last 5 seasons.) (84.1%, +26.4 units. Rating = 3*).
The Yankees’ strong second half has come to a halt lately, with a 2-4 record in their past six games. The biggest thing they have going for them is Hughes’ career long dominance of the White Sox. Including an eight-inning, two-run performance on July 1, Hughes owns a 1.00 ERA and 0.82 WHIP against Chicago in five career starts. Prior to the game earlier this year, he had thrown 13 consecutive scoreless frames across two starts in 2010 and 2011. But the Yankees are just 3-8 in Hughes’ 11 road starts this year, where he averages a mere 5.5 innings per outing. That will leave a lot of work to the deft New York bullpen that has a 3.39 ERA (3.05 road ERA), and 39 saves in 48 chances (81%).
The White Sox are 4-2 against the Yankees this season, though Sale has yet to face them as a starter either in his career. He has pitched against them three times as a reliever, yielding just one hit and two walks in 3.1 innings. The southpaw is 14-4 in his first season in the rotation, and deservedly a contender for the AL Cy Young, where he ranks tied for third in wins, and fourth in both ERA (2.72) and WHIP (1.06). He also receives the sixth-best run support in the AL (5.43 per game), and that should continue considering Chicago’s lineup has hit six homers in the past two games.