Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Aug. 20, 2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 7:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Where to watch: NBCSCH, Bally Sports Sun, MLB Network

Season-to-date
White Sox: 71-51 (1st place, AL Central)
Rays: 75-47 (1st place, AL East)

Recent form
White Sox: 5-5 in last 10
Rays: 7-3 in last 10, won four straight

Projected lineup


White Sox:
Cesar Hernandez (S) 2B
Luis Robert (R) CF
Jose Abreu (R) DH
Eloy Jimenez (R) LF
Andrew Vaughn (R) 1B
Yoan Moncada (S) 3B
Brian Goodwin (L) RF
Danny Mendick (R) SS
Zack Collins (L) C

Rays:
Brandon Lowe (L) 2B
Wander Franco (S) SS
Nelson Cruz (R) DH
Austin Meadows (L) LF
Ji-Man Choi (L) 1B
Randy Arozarena (R) RF
Joey Wendle (L) 3B
Francisco Mejia (S) C
Brett Phillips (L) CF

Projected starting pitchers: Lucas Giolito (CWS) vs. Michael Wacha (TB)

Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: White Sox -115, Rays +105
BetMGM: White Sox -125, Rays +105
PointsBet: White Sox -120, Rays +100

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White Sox - Rays preview


The top-two teams in the American League will battle in a three-game series when the Chicago White Sox visit the Tampa Bay Rays in the series opener at Tropicana Field on Friday.

Tampa Bay and Chiacgo have maintained leads in their respective divisions for most of the season. The Rays enter Friday with a 5.5-game lead in the American League East over the New York Yankees (and the Boston Red Sox to an extent), while the White Sox carry a monstrous 11.5-gaem lead on the Cleveland Indians.

The Rays enter on a four-game winning streak after taking care of the Baltimore Orioles (as one has this season) in a four-game sweep. Tampa Bay’s offense outscored the Orioles 34-8 in that span to extend Baltimore’s losing streak to 15 games.

Brandon Lowe continued his career power surge with his 29th home run of the season on Thursday. Tampa got five solid innings from 24-year-old Shane McClanahan to improve to 8-4 on the season in 19 starts.

Michael Wacha is expected to start for the Rays.

“To be able to go up against a team like the White Sox and play the way that we can play, bring this series into that series, this is going to be kind of what we're looking at, postseason baseball-wise, I feel like,” said Lowe. “You know that the White Sox are going to make it. We feel like we're going to make it.”

Opposite the Rays are the White Sox in that weird bubble of cruising to a division title, but much like their previous series with the Yankees, a tall task to see where they stack against the top teams in the league.

Chicago did accomplish a task of that degree by taking two of three against the Oakland Athletics, despite losing the series finale 5-4 on Thursday.

“We got the series win, which is always big,” said White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease.. “Any time you can beat a team that’s as talented as they are, it’s definitely something to build on. We just have to keep doing it.”

The White Sox will send workhorse Lucas Giolito to the mound. Although his 3.83 ERA may not look it, he’s 9-9 through 24 starts.

Betting trends


The Rays are 3-0 as an underdog of +100 or more when Wacha starts. The over has cashed in all three meetings.

Chicago is 7-4 in Giolito’s starts when the line is -100 to -150.

Prediction


We wonder how the Rays will handle this kind of pressure. In a stadium that’s nearly empty, it may not be that difficult for teams to come in and win. The White Sox have stumbled lately, but that A’s series should get them back on track. This will be a fun series, and maybe an American League Championship Series preview. White Sox win 7-6

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