The oddsmakers at sportsbooks had to forecast some intriguing betting odds to nail this AL encounter correctly with two of the best hurlers in the American League going to duel.
Though the records of Chris Archer and Chris Sale are nothing to brag about, several other numbers are more reflective of their actual talent, with wins and losses in part being on teams that are below .500 and have a hard time scoring on a continual basis.
Though U.S. Cellular Field has been a launching pad for years for balls flying over the fence, for the first time this season, the MLB odds on the total are a season-low 6.5. Here is what to ponder for Game 2 of is predicted to be a true pitcher's duel and no simple choice for sports picks.
Tampa Bay attempts to reach .500 again tonight after last night's tight 5-4 win over the Chicago, scoring single runs in the eight and nine innings to win the game. That makes the Rays 19-11 against left-handed starters, though they trailed when Jose Quintana left the contest, and they still will face two more in this series.
Averaging only 3.6 runs per game, nothing comes easy for the Rays, who strikeout a lot (more on that later), hit for a poor average of .241 (14th in AL) and rank only 12th in OBP. Tampa Bay has enjoyed some success against Sale with a 3-2 record, but have been fanned 50 times in only 31 1/3 innings.
White Sox Sentiments
After winning seven in a row to give their fans hope, Chicago has returned to familiar ways in losing four of five. The offense is not entirely to blame still averaging 4.6 RPG in this slow stretch compared to 3.7 for the season. It has been the pitching which as failed them of late, being smacked around for eight RPG.
On Monday the bullpen had their 10th blown save of the season and took their 16th loss. The White Sox will try and even up the series and lean on the bat of Jose Abreu, who went 2 for 3 and extended his hitting streak to 14 games and is batting .385 with five homers and 18 RBI's. Possibly Chicago is catching Archer at the right time since he is 0-4 with a 3.96 ERA in his last six outings. The Chi-Sox are 1-2 against Archer.
Archer vs. Sale
When it comes to durability and reliability, hard to not mention these two pitchers. Chris Archer (9-8, 2.54 ERA) ranks ninth in the AL in inning pitched and Chris Sale (9-6, 3.20) is 14th and not in the Top 10 because he missed two starts at the beginning of the season due to injury. Both flame-throwers are in the Top 5 in WHIP, with Archer third in the league at 0.99 and Sale 5th at 1.05 because of low hit counts and not walking many batters.
The expected game time temperature on the South Side of Chicago will be in the low-80's, however it could be a little breezier than expected. The reason is Tampa Bay ranks second in the American League in strikeout and Chicago seventh and Sale leads the league with 177 and Archer is third with 173, leading to these gusty conditions.
If you are a baseball handicapper who is a student of the game, watching Sale's 95 MPH fastball, sweeping curve and extraordinary changeup is a thing of beauty. While the Sox lefty's motion is herky-jerky, the Rays righty is smooth, but his mid-90's fastball seems to almost fool batters how quick it's on them and he also has a power slider and outstanding sinking change.
Betting Odds and Outcome
Bettors did not like the odds at Heritage this morning and lowered the White Sox from -140 to under -130. While this could go either way for MLB picks, I dug this up: August home favorites like Chicago with a money line of -110 or higher, with an OBP of .310 or lower, against an AL starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.30 or lower, are 47-12 the past 18 years. I think this will move me to 9-2 in recent game write-ups.
Free MLB Pick - Chicago -128 ML