Aug. 18 MLB Preview — Chicago White Sox (55-67) at Los Angeles Angels (61-64)

(Mike Trout photo courtesy Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

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: Sunday, Aug. 18, Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif., 4:07 p.m. EDT.

A pair of rookie pitchers navigating their way through the majors face off Sunday when Dylan Cease and the Chicago White Sox conclude a four-game series against Griffin Canning and the Los Angeles Angels.

Cease out to win back-to-back road starts for the Pale Hose

Cease (2-5, 5.54 ERA) is making his eighth start since being promoted in July and still looking to beat someone other than the Detroit Tigers.

The right-hander was done in by control problems and a leaky defense in Chicago’s 7-2 loss to Houston in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday. Cease walked a season-high five walks — his third start issuing at least four base on balls — and three passed balls by Wellington Castillo contributed to two of the four runs given up being unearned.

“I didn’t execute pitches that great, but we had a chance to win, so that was OK. But I mean, it’s hard to be happy with a loss,” Cease told the club’s official website. “Just across the board. I didn’t feel like my offspeed was that sharp today, and I didn’t feel like I had great fastball command.

“Yeah, I’m definitely not discouraged. Just the end result like that, it is hard to be happy.”

Prior to winning at Comerica Park on Aug. 6, Cease had two road starts to forget as he was reached for 10 runs and 11 hits in 10 innings of losses to Kansas City and Tampa Bay. The White Sox did not give him any runs in either defeat and have scored two or fewer for him in five of his seven starts.

Canning seeking consistency from start to start for Halos

Canning (4-6, 4.86) has been with the Angels since late April and is making his second start following a stint on the injured list with inflammation in his throwing elbow.

The right-hander was working on a pitch count Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, yielding three runs and six hits with three walks in four innings in an 80-pitch outing.  Canning did not factor in the decision of the 10-7 loss, but manager Brad Ausmus liked what he saw from the 23-year-old in his return to the rotation.

“His stuff looked really good, but the pitch count got up,” Ausmus told The Associated Press. “A little trouble locating the ball, and the error, that hurt him. But, overall, I thought more importantly he looked healthy, looked strong.”

Canning will be trying to further his success against AL Central opponents this year after going 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA in as many starts against division lightweights Detroit and Kansas City. The righty tossed 13 shutout innings in beating both teams at home, scattering seven hits.

Notable Trends

The Angels are:

  • 21-6 in their last 27 home games vs. the White Sox.
  • 4-1 in Canning’s last five home starts.
  • 5-2 in their last seven games vs. starters with a plus-1.30 WHIP.

The White Sox are:

  • 1-5 in Cease’s last six starts.
  • 1-7 in their last eight games vs. the Angels.
  • 6-21 in their last 27 games vs. right-handed starters.

*****5-Star Pick*****

OVER 9.5 runs (-110)

The over has been trending strongly with the Angels, extending its run to six games overall and seven straight at home after hitting Saturday. The over is also 9-0 for the Angels when their opponent scores five or more runs in the previous game.

Something else that weighs into taking the over in addition to two rookies facing each other is bullpen fatigue. Even with using a bulk reliever Saturday night, the Angels’ relief corps have logged 7 2-3 innings in the last two games.

On Chicago’s side, the over is on a four-game run with the White Sox and 4-0-1 in their last five road games. The over has hit in Chicago’s last five games at Angel Stadium and is 2-0-2 in the last four of the fourth game in a series.

****4-Star Pick****

Angels OVER 5 runs (-131)

The Angels have scored five or more runs in six of their last eight games, but this is also about Cease not showing any sort of dominance in his seven starts. The rookie has yielded four or more runs in five of his outings and pitched beyond five innings in only three of them.

The White Sox have also allowed five or more runs in five of their nine games during this stretch against AL West teams and in seven of their 13 road games against teams from that division.

OVER 5 runs (-121)

Two rookies pitching in a series finale is usually principle enough to take the over, but both teams are solidly trending to warrant this pick. The five-inning over is 11-4 in the Angels’ last 15 games and 5-1 on its current homestand.

The over is also 3-1-1 in Chicago’s last five games and 5-1-2 in its last eight on the road. There is enough confidence to consider an alternate line of 5.5 runs, which is offering at +111.

***3-Star Picks***

Angels -1.5 runs (+105)

This pick has the feel of a toss-up, but Canning’s mastery of AL Central teams — though against the dregs of the division — coupled with Cease still feeling his way around the strike zone in the major leagues is enough to take the Angels in this instance.

The other factor is Mike Trout perking up as he is 6 for 11 with a pair of home runs and four RBIs in this series after igniting Saturday’s four-run go-ahead rally with a two-run single in the seventh.

Angels -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-125)

This is more of a pick against Cease, as the White Sox are 0-4-1 at the midway point of his five starts not against the Tigers. The Angels have been skittish of late, leading just three times in their last 12 games (3-9) after five innings, but the hedge is they get to Cease while Canning does just enough to pull this out for the home team.

Angels OVER 1.5 runs first 3 innings (-105)

Cease has yielded two or more runs in the first three innings in five of his seven starts, and the Angels have plated two or more runs in the opening three frames in seven of their last 11, including twice in this series. This feels like a slightly better play than the combined three-inning over/under of three runs at the same rate, though Canning has sometimes struggled to build on his 1.69 first-inning ERA.

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