Rays vs. White Sox Game 4
By: Ron Patrick
Sox slugger Jose Abreu hit another home run Sunday, giving him 10 dings and 31 RBI in his first month in the Majors.
So Tampa will try to salvage a split of this series when the teams meet Monday night (8:10 pm ET).
Monday's Betting Line
Early Monday morning most books were chalking Tampa and Jake Odorizzi at around -125 over Chicago and Andre Rienzo, with a total of nine runs. The Rays could also be bet on the run line at around +130.
Rienzo (1-0 4.91) will be making his second start of this season; in his first, last Wednesday at Detroit, Rienzo gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 6-4 Chicago victory.
Last year as a rookie Rienzo went six-for-10 on quality starts, but in 56 innings he walked 28 and gave up 11 home runs, leading to a 4.82 ERA.
This will be Rienzo's first-ever start against Tampa.
Odorizzi (1-2, 6.52) is one-for-four on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last three. He opened this year with a nice outing against Texas, but since then has given up 14 ER and 20 hits in 13 1/3 innings. Last time out Odorizzi gave up four runs in less than four innings of a 6-4 Tampa loss to Minnesota.
The Rays are 1-3 in Odorizzi's starts this season, with the totals going 3-1.
This will be Odorizzi's first-ever start vs. the White Sox.
Monday's Free Pick
Neither of today's starting pitchers inspires much confidence; they could both be gone by the fifth or sixth inning. And if this game comes down to the bullpens we give Tampa the edge. So we'll go with the Rays, at the -120 offered at Heritage, for our free pick on Monday's game.
Rays vs. White Sox Game 3
By: Ron Patrick
Sunday's Betting Line
Early Sunday morning most books were listing Tampa and David Price at right around -165 over Chicago and rookie Scott Carroll, with a total of eight runs. The Rays could also be bet at around +100 on the run line.
Carroll, a 29-year-old righty, will be making his ML debut Sunday after spending eight seasons in the Minors. Last year Carroll only pitched 41 innings before having elbow surgery, but this spring, in four starts at Triple-A Charlotte, he went 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA, allowing 18 hits in 23 innings. But he's not a strikeout pitcher, recording only 385 whiffs in 640 minor league innings.
Price (3-1, 4.04) is three-for-five on quality starts this season. Ten days ago he got clipped by the Yankees for six runs and 10 hits in five innings, but last time out he threw a complete game against Minnesota, allowing three runs and six hits, walking one while striking out 12.
On the season the former Cy Young Award winner has given up 35 hits in 35 2/3 innings, with just four walks and 40 whiffs.
Price started twice against the White Sox last year, allowing four runs and 14 hits in 16 innings; Tampa won both those games.
Sunday's Free Pick
Price owns the obvious edge in the pitching match-up, and Tampa is a “play” for us against right-handed starters, with its .352 team OBP vs. righties this year. And since we like to gamble a little we'll go with the Rays on the run line, at the +101 offered at 5Dimes, for our free pick on Sunday's game.
Rays vs. White Sox Game 2
By: Ron Patrick
In the early betting Chicago and John Danks were favored by around -115 over Tampa and fellow lefty Cesar Ramos, with a total of nine runs. The Sox could also be bet at around +180 giving the run and a half on the run line.
Danks (2-0, 2.84), coming off a poor 2013 campaign (in fact, a rough last three seasons), is three-for-four on quality starts this season. He's gone at least six innings in each of his starts and allowed no more than three runs in each outing.
Two starts ago Danks held Boston to one run and three hits in six innings, and last time out, Tuesday night at Detroit, he allowed just one run and six hits through 6 1/3 innings.
And yet the White Sox, one of the highest-scoring teams so far, have only managed to split his four starts.
Danks started once against Tampa last year, giving up three runs and five hits in seven innings of a 3-1 Chicago loss in July.
Ramos (0-1, 4.91), pressed into the rotation because of injuries suffered by Rays starters, is 0-for-2 on quality starts, to go along with four relief appearances. But he made a nice improvement from his first start to his second. He got clipped by Cincinnati 13 days ago for four runs in two innings, with three walks; but his next time out, last Sunday against the Yankees, he allowed one run through five innings, with just one walk.
This will be Ramos' first-ever start vs. the White Sox.
In fact, while Ramos has appeared in 149 ML games, this will be just his sixth career start.
Both these teams have struggled a bit this season against left-handed pitching; the Sox own a .293 team OBP vs. lefties, the Rays a .292 OBP.
Saturday's Free Pick
Danks has been great so far, and gets the check-mark in the comparison of the starters. And the Sox bats just keep bombing along. We're a little surprised the line on this game isn't more than it is. So we'll go with Chicago, at the -104 offered at Heritage, for our free pick on Saturday's contest.
Rays vs. White Sox Game 1
By: Ron Patrick
As of early Friday morning Tampa and starter Chris Archer were favored by around -135 over Chicago and Erik Johnson, with a total of 8.5 runs. The Rays could also be gotten at around +125 giving the run and a half on the run line.
Chicago just completed a 3-4 road trip with a 7-4 loss at Detroit Thursday. The Sox lost two out of three at Texas, then split four games with the Tigers.
The White Sox have been banging the ball around with the best of 'em so far this season, averaging 5.4 runs per game. Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez are hitting .377 and .352, respectively; Adam Dunn owns a .400 OBP; and newcomer Jose Abreu has seven homers and 21 RBI.
But the Chicago pitching staff, thanks in part to one of the worst bullpens in baseball, owns a 5.20 ERA.
At 11-12 the White Sox are two games out of first place in the AL Central.
Tampa just completed a 3-4 home-stand with a 9-7 loss to Minnesota Thursday. The Rays split four games with the Yankees, then dropped two of three to the Twins. At the moment Tampa is trying to deal with a situation with its starting rotation, with three guys on the DL. Archer is one of the holdovers, but in recent days the Rays have started guys like Erik Bedard, Jake Odorizzi and Cesar Ramos.
At 10-12 the Rays are three games out of first place in the AL East.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Johnson (1-1, 5.32), by our strict standards, is just one-for-four on quality starts this season. But after giving up 11 ER through his first two starts, he's allowed just two ER over his last two starts.
Most recently Johnson held Texas to one ER and one hit in five innings last Sunday, although he also walked five guys.
This will be Johnson's first-ever start against Tampa.
Archer (2-1, 3.65) is three-for-four on quality starts this season, and Tampa has won three of his four starts. After allowing just two runs through his first two starts Archer got bombed by Baltimore for seven runs in five innings. But last time out he rebounded to hold the Yankees to one run and three hits through 6 2/3 innings last Saturday.
This will be Archer's first-ever start against the White Sox.
Thanks to that injury-depleted starting rotation the Rays are having to depend upon their bullpen a lot. In just the last four games, including a complete game by David Price, the Tampa pen has thrown 20 innings. For the season the Rays' pen ranks 13th with a 3.45 ERA and has converted four-for-four on save opportunities.
But at least Tampa's bullpen has been somewhat effective; Chicago's pen ranks 28th with a 5.47 ERA and has blown five out of eight save chances.
Tampa ranks in the middle of the pack in most offensive categories, including 16th in scoring at 4.2 runs per game. But the Rays have broken loose for 46 runs in their last six games.
Chicago ranks third in scoring at 5.4 RPG, second in team OPS and third in homers with 28.
Both these lineups have been better against right-handed pitching, rather than left-handed; the Sox own a .348 OBP vs. righties, the Rays .344.
Tampa took the season series from Chicago last year five games to two, with the totals going 4-2-1.
These two teams are a combined 27-16 on the OVER/UNDERS this season.
The O/Us are a combined 5-2 in Johnson and Archer's starts this season.
Free MLB Pick for Friday
Chicago owns the advantage with the bats, but Tampa gets the edge in the pitching match-up and in the bullpen. So we'll add the Rays, at the -130 offered at Pinnacle, to our list of free MLB picks for Friday.