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Neither of these teams are used to losing games. The White Sox have started six straight series with a win while the Rays have won game one of their last four series. Something has to give. In this one, there seems to be more reasons to like Chicago. Not only did the Sox just take three of four from Oakland (yes, at the same time Tampa Bay dominated Baltimore for four days) but they’re 8-2 in their last 10 games on turf.
Garcia’s 2021 record: (48-45-2)
We’re taking the under and the White Sox money line.
Garcia’s 2021 record: (46-44-2)
Odds presented by: Draft Kings
|Team||Run Spread||Money Line||Total|
|Chicago Whte Sox||-1.5 (+135)||-125||O 9 (EVEN)|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1.5 (-155)||+105||U 9 (-120)|
Trends to watch
|Teams||Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays|
|Location||Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL|
|Time||Friday, August 20, 7:10 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||Bally Sports Sun, NBC Sports Chicago MLB.TV|
It feels like it’s either going to happen in the Division Series, or the Championship Series, but somewhere along the line these two teams are probably going to cross paths in October. That’s just how good they’ve both been.
Pitching will determine a lot when these two evenly matched teams meet and on this day, the advantage goes to Chicago. Lucas Giolito toes the rubber for the South Siders, but truth be told has left a little to be desired this season.
He’s still been solid: 9-9 overall with a 3.83 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 161 strikeouts in 141 innings, but it hasn’t been the ace-level pitching Chicago fans hoped for and frankly, were expecting.
Giolito’s made three starts this month, one was stellar and two were awful. In the bad starts, he combined to go 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA, surrendering eight runs in eight innings with 17 total base runners — a WHIP above 2.00.
However, in between those starts, he threw eight innings of two-hit, one-run baseball in a drubbing of the Royals. It remains to be seen which Giolito will show up Friday, but one thing we do know is he has to be careful of Nelson Cruz. The 40-year-old wonder has 25 home runs in 107 games against the White Sox and took Giolito deep three times in 2019 — all home runs of 430+ feet.
Meanwhile, it’s Michael Wacha on the mound for Tampa — who likely is pitching for his job in the rotation. Over his past three starts, Wacha is 0-2 with a 11.57 ERA in just 14 total innings. He just hasn’t been the same, which is one reason why if he doesn’t improve, like Friday night, he’s likely headed to the bullpen with Chris Archer set to return any day.
The White Sox look like a team ready for a breakout now that their star outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert have both returned from injury. The offense should take another jump when Yoan Moncada comes back next week.
Even without a full complement of players, the White Sox offense has been one of the best all season, ranking fourth in on-base percentage (.333), seventh in runs (606), and batting average (.251).
The Rays don’t boast quite as much depth in their compact lineup, but there are no easy outs and they make their money by being a scrappy bunch. They don’t seem to do any one thing that well — they’re 10th in slugging percentage (.419), just 12th in on-base percentage (.319) and in the bottom half, 17th, in batting average (.238).
Yet still, at the end of the day, all that matters is runs, and they have scored the most runs (642) of any team in all of baseball.
The Rays best hitters are all doing what they do. Brandon Lowe and Nelson Cruz both have three home runs and seven RBIs, Mike Zunino has three long balls and Randy Arozarena is 10-of-his-last-23 — all in the past week.
We will keep an eye on Joey Wendle who could be due for a nice day. He’s hitting .298 with an .819 OPS in 100 games (258 at bats) against righties this year.
For we will watch Andrew Vaughn after he hit a two-run shot yesterday and has four RBI in the past three games.
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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