Rays at White Sox Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/27/2013
The Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox are in the same boat entering Saturday's Game 3 of their series at U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago's South Side. Now, of course, the franchises as a whole aren't in the same boat. The Rays are on a shoestring payroll (around $57 million) in a dilapidated stadium but have what is considered perhaps the best front office in the game. They are rich in young talent throughout the organization, especially pitching. Tampa Bay should be good for a while despite financial limitations.
The White Sox, meanwhile, always spend money but never quite like a big-market club. They are at around $125 million this year but are banking on almost all veterans to have career-level years for any chance of competing against the heavily-favored Tigers in the AL Central or for a wild-card spot. Many of those veterans did have big years in 2012 before Chicago faded at the end. Things don't look good down the road for the aged Sox as their farm system is one of the worst in baseball. It's not a great time to be a baseball fan anywhere in Chicago.
But the 2013 Rays and White Sox are in the same boat as they each have underachieved. The pitching staffs have been very good, with the Sox No. 2 in the American League in team ERA (3.20) entering Friday and the Rays at No. 5 (3.74). The problem is scoring. Chicago is last in the AL in runs, and Tampa Bay is No. 12. They are No. 13 and 14 in average, respectively, and are lousy at getting runners on base in general (i.e. few walks and lots of strikeouts, especially for the Pale Hose).
Rays at White Sox Betting Story Lines
Chicago has followed a four-game skid with back-to-back wins entering Friday's Game 2. On Thursday behind ace Chris Sale, the Sox beat the Rays 5-2. Adam Dunn homered in that game to end an eight-game hitless streak. He also struck out three more times and is hitting .108 with 28 whiffs this season. Four of his eight hits are homers. Dunn is probably the worst regular in the AL right now, and his on-base percentage of .185 is the worst in MLB. Why former GM Kenny Williams signed Dunn to a four-year, $56 million deal before the 2011 season is head-scratching. Dunn is one of three White Sox with at least 22 strikeouts (Alejandro De Aza and Tyler Flowers).
The Rays could be without starting shortstop Yunel Escobar for this game. He sat out Thursday with hamstring tightness and was expected to as well Friday. He's hitting just .164. Super utility-man Ben Zobrist moves to short when Escobar is out and Ryan Roberts to second base in place of Zobrist, who has been slumping and is down to .253. The only Rays regular above .300 is first baseman James Loney (.327). Evan Longoria is also slumping and down to .266. He hasn't had a multi-hit game since April 8.
Tampa Bay's best pitcher these days isn't reigning Cy Young winner David Price, who looks for his first win of the year in Sunday's finale. It's young lefty Matt Moore (4-0, 1.04), and he gets the call Saturday. Moore has allowed more than two hits just once in four starts and only five in that other one for a WHIP of 0.92 and opponents' batting average of .116, which is No. 1 in baseball. The 23-year-old Moore dominated the Sox in two starts last year, going 1-1 with a 1.46 ERA, 14 strikeouts and five hits allowed in 12.1 innings. He one-hit the Sox over 5.1 innings in his lone U.S. Cellular start. Dunn has a homer off Moore in four at-bats. No Chicago batter has more than five official at-bats against Moore. Alex Rios, the team's best hitter this year, has struck out four times in his five at-bats.
Chicago starts right-hander Gavin Floyd (0-3, 4.98). He had his best outing of the season last time out, holding the Twins to a run and three hits in six innings. Should Floyd improve and the Sox remain out of contention, he's highly likely to be dealt with his contract up after this season. Floyd loves facing the Rays as he is 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 40 career innings against them. Zobrist hits Floyd well, batting .313 with three homers and four RBI in 16 at-bats. Longoria has gone yard twice in 11 at-bats.
This is Tampa Bay's only visit to Chicago this season. The White Sox won four of seven meetings a year ago but lost three of four at U.S. Cellular late in the season as both they and the Rays were chasing playoff spots. That series loss all but ended Chicago's chances in the AL Central after leading the division almost all of the second half of the season.
Rays at White Sox MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Rays have been opened at -105 and the White Sox -105 with the total at 7.5. All trends entering Friday: Tampa Bay is 7-10-5 “over/under” (1-5-4 away) and 12-10 on the runline. Chicago is 4-15-2 O/U (1-8-2 at home) and 10-11 on the runline.
The Rays are 4-1 in their past five Saturday games. Tampa is 1-7 in its past eight road games against right-handed starters. The Rays are 6-0 in Moore's past six starts. Tampa Bay is 0-4 in Moore's past four road starts against teams with a losing record. The White Sox are 1-4 in the past five home games against a lefty starter. The Sox are 7-2 in Floyd's past nine starts against a team with a losing record. The under is 7-2 in Moore's past nine starts vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 6-0-1 in the White Sox's past seven home games vs. a lefty starter. The under is 4-1 in Floyd's past five starts against teams with a losing record. The under is 4-0 in Floyd's past four home starts vs. Tampa Bay. The White Sox are 5-1 in Floyd's past six vs. Tampa.
Rays at White Sox Picks and Betting Predictions
The White Sox are 1-3 against lefties this year, and I wonder if Dunn takes a seat considering he is 0-for-12 with six strikeouts against them this year. Problem is, the White Sox have no depth and really no one to take his place at DH with Dayan Viciedo on the disabled list. Tampa Bay is just 4-10 against right-handers (entering Friday), but I think Moore is simply too filthy for the flailing Sox to handle. Take the Rays and the under. I'd probably roll the dice on Rays at +145 on the runline as well.
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