White Sox vs Rays MLB

White Sox vs Rays MLB | AL Division Leaders Face Off

The marquee series of the weekend in baseball starts Friday from St. Petersburg, Fla., as the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox visit the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays in a potential playoff preview. The Sox are slight favorites on the MLB odds.

How to Bet White Sox at Rays MLB Odds & TV Info

Why Bet on Chicago?

The White Sox won two of three at home vs. Tampa Bay in mid-June, including an 8-7 victory in 10 innings in the deciding game. The Sox have won five of the last six games at Tropicana Field, sweeping a three-game series in 2018 and winning two of three in 2019.

White Sox shortstop and leadoff hitter Tim Anderson didn’t play in Thursday’s series finale vs. Oakland but it was just for rest and he’ll be back in there for this one. Anderson Is hitting .311/.326/.508 (57-183) with 11 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 23 RBI in his last 41 games. He leads the White Sox and is tied for fifth in the AL with 37 multihit efforts in 2021. Anderson is 27-for-102 (.265) with four doubles and four homers (three on first pitch) in the first inning.

Chicago remains without No. 1 catcher Yasmani Grandal but he’s close – just probably not Friday. Grandal has been out since July 5th with a torn tendon in his knee but has been tearing it up in minor-league rehab. he production from the catcher spot in the lineup has dropped significantly with Zack Collins and Seby Zavala both struggling at the plate.

It’s Lucas Giolito on the mound here. Giolito (9-9, 3.83 ERA) allowed three runs — two earned — on six hits and three walks with eight strikeouts over four innings in a loss against the Yankees last Sunday. He needed 101 pitches to get through four innings. He issued two walks in a 33-pitch first innings, including a 12-pitch at-bat by Brett Gardner that ended with a free pass. Two runs would score in the second inning on a two-run homer by Rougned Odor. A third run would score in the frame on an error. Giolito worked around a pair of hits in the third and a walk in the fourth before his day was done.

Giolito ranks among American League leaders in strikeouts (4th, 161), strikeouts per 9.0 IP (4th, 10.28), opponents average (6th, .226) and WHIP (7th, 1.13). He is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA (6 ER/26.2 IP), 32 strikeouts and a .174 (16-92) opponents average in four career starts vs. the Rays and 0-0 with a 1.32 ERA (2 ER/13.2 IP), 15 strikeouts and a .196 (9-46) opponents average over two career starts at Tropicana Field.

Why Bet on Tampa Bay?

Will the Rays have All-Star catcher Mike Zunino? Zunino has slugged a home run in each of his last five games played but sat both Wednesday and Thursday. Apparently, Zunino is dealing with a tooth issue. Zunino has 26 homers on the season, most among catchers.

The five straight games with a homer is tied with José Canseco from May 16-21, 1999 for the 2nd-longest streak in franchise history behind Carlos Peña (6) from June 6-12, 2010. It is the longest such streak for a catcher in the majors since Baltimore’s Caleb Joseph (5) from Aug 2-9, 2014 and is tied for the 2nd-longest streak by a catcher since 1901 behind the Giants’ Walker Cooper (6) from June 22-28, 1947.

The Rays have won four consecutive games, reaching a season-high 28 games over .500 for the first time since ending the 2019 season at 96-66. The Rays are on pace to go 99-63, which would set a franchise record for wins in a season (97-65 in 2008). Since May 13, the Rays are a majors-best 32-10 at home. The have had sole possession of the best record in the AL for 14 straight days.

It’s Michael Wacha (2-4) on the bump here. Wacha was blown up in last Saturday’s loss to the Twins, giving up seven runs on 11 hits over his five innings. The Twins jumped on him in the first inning, as Max Kepler crushed a leadoff homer and four of the next five hitters reached to push three more runs across. They added three more in the third — two of those on a two-run blast by Luis Arraez. That raised Wacha’s season ERA to 5.91.

Wacha has allowed 5 runs (or more) in three consecutive outings, matching May 13-24, 2016 (with STL) for the longest such streak of his career, and the longest streak by a Rays pitcher since Drew Smyly did so in four consecutive apps (all starts) from June 26–July 18, 2016.

He is 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA (10-IP, 7-ER) in two career starts against the White Sox, both coming with the Cardinals. He last faced them on May 1, 2018 at Busch Stadium, taking no decision after allowing 2 runs in 5 IP.

Game Trends

  • White Sox are 6-0 in their last 6 during game 1 of a series.
  • Rays are 4-0 in their last 4 during game 1 of a series.
  • Under is 41-20-1 in the last 62 meetings in Tampa Bay.
  • Under is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings.
  • White Sox are 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Tampa Bay.

Expert Prediction

  • Rays 5, White Sox 4
 
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