MLB Odds, Prediction, Preview for Rays vs. White Sox: Bet Tampa Bay in Near Toss-Up (Tuesday, June 15)

MLB Odds, Prediction, Preview for Rays vs. White Sox: Bet Tampa Bay in Near Toss-Up (Tuesday, June 15) article feature image
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Adam Hunger/Getty Images. Pictured: Shane McClanahan.

  • In Game 2 of the Rays vs. White Sox series, bookmakers have a matchup of left-handers listed as a toss-up.
  • Shane McClanahan has great upside in the Rays' rotation, while Dallas Keuchel is trending downward for the White Sox.
  • Jeff Hicks breaks down which side he's backing in this matchup of division leaders.

Rays vs. White Sox Odds

Rays Odds +101
White Sox Odds -111
Over/Under 8.5 (-105 / -115)
Time Tuesday, 8:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds updated Tuesday afternoon and via William Hill.

Two of the American League’s best square off in Game 2 of a three-game set on Tuesday night, and it’s another toss-up according to the books.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox sit atop their divisions and have two of the four best run differentials in the majors. Not only do they bury opponents on offense, but they can thwart batters. Tampa Bay and Chicago are top 10 in starter, reliever and overall pitching WAR. The Pale Hose are first in all three.

How are these teams going to score runs? Is there a betting angle to take advantage of with two of baseball’s finest squaring off?

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McClanahan the Next Young Rays Stud

The Rays have the best roster management group in baseball. Only the St. Louis Cardinals’ voodoo magic is more powerful than Tampa’s player development.

Trade Blake Snell? Fine. Has the bullpen suffered numerous injuries? OK. Field a batting order with Create-A-Player? Done.

Shane McClanahan is one of the many success stories of the Rays player development. The 31st overall pick in the 2018 draft is striking out almost 30% of batters in his first taste of the majors. His walks are high and his 23.1% home run-to-fly ball ratio is not great, but he is saddled with a .341 BABIP.

McClahanan’s xERA is 0.40 runs lower than his 4.54 ERA, and his xFIP is 1.46 runs lower. The left-hander is on a great trajectory and just needs a little luck on balls put in play. That luck has found its way around one of the better defenses in MLB according to Defensive WAR.

The Rays’ offense will have to buck a two-month trend of not succeeding against left-handed pitching, particularly on the road. Tampa Bay’s offense is bottom five in Hard Hit percentage and top three in Soft Hit percentage and strikeout rates, and the Rays have one of the higher rates of fly balls to grounders.

It has been ugly at times away from baseball’s favorite home dome. There may be some relief for at least one game, though.


Keuchel on Downhill Trajectory

Dallas Keuchel has decided to stop missing bats. The 33-year old’s 4.14 ERA is his highest since 2016, and his xERA is nearly two runs higher. His home run-to-fly ball rate is 14% higher than 2020 and 4% above his career average. The cherry on top is his flatlined strikeouts per nine innings. At 5.15, it is its lowest since his rookie season in 2012.

Keuchel has also become a reverse splits pitcher at home this season, failing to get left-handed batters out while fairing fairly well against righties. In seven more innings pitched at home, Keuchel has allowed 10 more hits, six more for extra-bases and seven more earned runs, as well as a .439 slugging percentage, .054 higher than in road starts. Keuchel has had to locate nearly perfectly this season to not be crushed.

That means the White Sox offense is going to have to continue to score runs despite missing three starting position players. It has been amazing to see the offense plug in retreads (sorry Brian Goodwin) and continue to win games. Chicago is in the top half in walk rate, strikeout rate (in a good way), average, OBP, slugging, OPS, wRAA, wOBA, wRC+, Medium Hit percentage and HR/FB against lefties at home.

If McClanahan can avoid an elevated Hard Hit rate, he can slow the White Sox offense.

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Rays-White Sox Pick

The books have this game as a dead heat and I understand why, but the White Sox entered this series 17-16 against teams with winning records this season. McClanahan has more warts than Monday Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, but the lefty has major-league-caliber pitches that can evade Chicago’s injured lineup.

Keuchel’s regression this season does not put him in an advantageous spot to take advantage of Tampa’s road shortcomings. It’s imperative to get the Rays as close to -105 as you can.

Pick: Rays -105 (bet to -115)

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