MLB Betting Preview (May 22): White Sox vs. Blue Jays predictions

Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Saxon
1 month ago
The heavily favoured Toronto Blue Jays conclude a three-game series vs. the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night at 7:07 ET at Rogers Centre. Chicago evened the series, which pits two last-place teams, at a game apiece with a 5-0 win Tuesday night.
The Blue Jays haven’t hit all year, and they had their hands full vs. Chicago’s Garret Crochet, MLB’s hardest-throwing left-handed pitcher this season. Crochet reached 99 mph four times in the second inning alone and Toronto managed just three base runners in Crochet’s six innings. Toronto could make no traction against the White Sox’s bullpen either.
It was just another night of offensive futility for Toronto and, sadly for them, the underlying metrics paint as bleak a picture as the standings. Their batted balls have averaged 87.8 mph of exit velocity, tying them for last in the major leagues in that crucial category.
Yusei Kikuchi pitched six strong innings, but became the latest Toronto pitcher to be marooned by the team’s misfiring lineup.

Betting Chicago White Sox (15-34 SU, 23-26 ATS, 21-27-1 o/u)

The way the White Sox have hit this season, it often takes a bit of good fortune or some small ball for them to score and they got both in the second inning Tuesday. Ernie Clement made a throwing error and the Sox used a sacrifice bunt to help plate the first run of the game, which proved important in such a well-pitched game.
Chicago ranks dead last in the majors in slugging.
They did get a key double from Eloy Jiménez on a high Kikuchi fastball in the fifth inning that helped them pad their lead. But in yet another sign this might not be the White Sox’s year, Jiménez, who has already missed time this season, left the game with what appeared to be a hamstring injury later that inning. Former Astros outfielder Corey Julks had a big two-out single up the middle to give Chicago a three-run lead.
The White Sox, who had massive off-season turnover under a new front office, have been paced offensively by a couple of journeymen they signed late in the free-agency period, shortstop Paul DeJong and outfielder Tommy Pham. They had two of Chicago’s eight hits.

Betting Toronto Blue Jays (21-26 SU, 21-25 ATS, 18-28 o/u)

Just like 2023, this season is shaping up as a frustrating one for a Toronto offence that showed so much promise as recently as two seasons ago. Unlike in 2023, the team’s pitching hasn’t been nearly as consistent.
After another punchless night in Toronto, the Blue Jays have just one qualified hitter – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – who ranks in the top 60 in MLB in OPS. They have just two players – Daulton Varsho being the other – who rank in the top 115. Against flame thrower Michael Kopech, the Blue Jays struck out in all three at-bats of the ninth inning on Tuesday, an emblematic inning for one of the league’s least-potent lineups.
Kikuchi ran into some issues commanding his breaking ball in the middle innings but withstood them to pitch six strong innings, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out six. He ranks 16th in MLB with a 2.64 ERA, but has won just two games in part due to poor run support.

Probable starting pitchers

Chicago: RHP Nick Nastrini (0-2, 7.88 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 2.00 WHIP)
After Tuesday night’s game, the White Sox announced they would recall Nastrini from Triple-A Charlotte to pitch Wednesday, bumping veteran Mike Clevinger to Thursday’s game. The moves allow Chicago to take a look at Nastrini for a fifth starter role that opened up when the team designated Brad Keller for assignment on Sunday.
Nastrini, 24, made two starts for the Sox last month, working five innings of two-run baseball against the Kansas City Royals and allowing six runs in just three innings in Philadelphia. Chicago optioned him back to Charlotte following that game in Philly. Nastrini was part of Chicago’s return for trading veterans Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly to the Dodgers at last summer’s trade deadline. He has a rather pedestrian fastball, which averages 93 mph, but he mixes in a curveball nearly 30% of the time and also has a changeup he features in 18% of his pitches.
Toronto: RHP Chris Bassitt (3-6, 5.03 ERA, 8.38 K/9, 1.53 WHIP)
Coming off his first season of reaching the 200-innings threshold, Bassitt has had trouble replicating that success so far in 2024. Two starts ago, he got hit hard by the Los Angeles Dodgers, then pitched a mediocre game against the San Diego Padres. Compared to those teams, the White Sox’s lineup should pose an easier puzzle to solve.
Thus far this season, Bassitt’s stuff just hasn’t been sharp. His sinker, his primary fastball, has averaged a pedestrian 93 mph so far, while his curveball has ranked in the 38th percentile for run value and his changeup hasn’t been much better.
Few of these White Sox hitters have had much success against Bassitt in the past, with Andrew Benintendi the only player on the active roster who has taken Bassitt deep. Benintendi came up with hits in half of his eight at-bats off Bassitt.
Forecasters are calling for another delightful evening at Rogers Centre, so presumably the roof will be open. Temperatures are expected to be around 23C at first pitch with clouds and a brisk wind blowing out to center field at about 10 km/h.

MLB betting trends

Not surprisingly, both teams generally reward bettors who take the under. The White Sox and their opponents have come in under the run total in 11 of their last 15 games, while Toronto has kept the score under in 28 of its last 43 games.
Oddly, the White Sox have hit the first five innings (F5) team over in 13 of their last 22 away games.
Chicago has covered the run line in 14 of its last 24 games.
The Blue Jays and their opponents have hit the game total under in 27 of their last 42 games.

MLB player prop trends

Justin Turner has been among the coldest hitters in the majors leagues, hitless in 30 straight at-bats before he snapped his funk with a double off a Crochet cutter in the fifth inning. Turner is -245 to pick up at least one hit, while you’d get +195 to wager he will again go hitless.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa now inherits the mantle of being Toronto’s coldest hitter, with no hits in his last 20 at-bats. As of Wednesday morning, he was off the board for both hits and total bases.
Pham has hit the hits over in 16 of his last 22 games and the RBIs over in 15 of his last 22 games.

White Sox vs. Blue Jays predictions

The Blue Jays haven’t played well enough to be a favourite of this magnitude. They certainly haven’t hit well enough to presume they’ll chase Nastrini from the game in the early innings. It also should be an asset for the rookie that none of these Blue Jays hitters has ever faced him in an MLB game. As softly as Toronto is hitting the ball lately, taking Chicago on the moneyline seems like a decent risk here.
Chicago didn’t exactly scorch the ball Tuesday night against Kikuchi and the Jays’ bullpen either. While Toronto’s hitters have struggled, Chicago’s lineup just doesn’t have the potential to scare anybody, propped up as it is by journeymen signed to last-minute deals. Consider taking the under here.

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