MLB: Rays try for historic road trip

MLB: Rays try for historic road trip

MLB: Rays try for historic road trip

2010-04-22

The only downside of this 10-game road trip for the Tampa Bay Rays may be that it’s coming to an end. The Rays look to finish up one of their most successful swings in franchise history when they close a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night. They are a slight underdog according to Sportsbook.com. Let’s take a look at this evening clash.


After winning the first seven games of the trip by sweeping Baltimore and Boston, the Rays (11-4, +7.4 units) bounced back from a loss to Chicago (5-10, -6.9) on Tuesday with a 12-0 rout Wednesday. Sean Rodriguez had three hits, including a three-run homer during a six-run sixth inning, and starter Wade Davis gave up two hits and struck out six over six innings. Rodriguez, who had four RBIs, came in hitting .160.


“This guy’s got a nice track record of success,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Most of its been in Triple-A, but … his ability’s going to translate in the big leagues.”


While scoring 59 runs on the road trip, Tampa Bay has been led by Carl Crawford, who is hitting .371, and B.J. Upton, who has driven in 12.


With a win Thursday, the Rays would set a team high for victories during a single road trip. They went 8-1 in June 2004. Tampa Bay is 8-0 if their opponent scored two or less runs in last contest.


Chicago, meanwhile, has lost five of six to fall into last in the AL Central. The White Sox finished with four hits Wednesday, and are batting .198 at home.


“When you look up and see .180, .190, .200, .210, you want to hit .300 in one at-bat. That’s hard to do,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Just take it one at-bat at a time and give it your best shot.”


Carlos Quentin went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Wednesday, dropping his average to .176. He is hitless in his last 20 at-bats. The left fielder has fared a little better against James Shields (1-0, 4.50 ERA), who will take the ball for Tampa Bay on Thursday. Quentin is 3 for 13 with a home run off the right-hander and his team is 21-8 at U.S. Cellular Field vs. a starting pitcher whose strikes out five or more batters per start.


Shields gave up four runs and nine hits, including two home runs, in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-5 win over Boston on Saturday. He is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA against the White Sox and 5-10 (-11.6 Units) against the money line vs. teams averaging 2.75 or less extra base hits per game over the last two seasons. (Rays Record)


Chicago will turn to Jake Peavy (0-0, 6.00) while still looking for its first series victory of 2010. Peavy pitched a season-high 7 1/3 innings against Cleveland on Saturday, giving up two runs and four hits in a 3-2 loss. The White Sox led until he gave up a one-out home run in the eighth. The right-hander said his lack of experience against the American League after coming from San Diego late last season is no excuse for his struggles.


“Not having a history is tough,” he told the White Sox’s official website. “It’s no excuse not to go out there and learn and make adjustments on the fly and do well.”


In Peavy’s only start against Tampa Bay, he gave up two hits in seven innings of a 9-0 win in 2007. For whatever reason, the Sox right-hander is 20-8 OVER when playing on Thursday’s. (Team's Record)


Sportsbook.com has Chicago as -110 ML favorite with total of O8, but the South Siders are merely 40-43 (-19.4 Units) when the betting choice of -110 or higher since last season. Sox announcer Ken Harrelson’s “good guys” are 28-15 UNDER at home when the money line is +125 to -125.


Two ways to look at the Rays, this devilish team is 14-3 vs. right-hand starters dating back to last season or 7-21 when Shields pitches in underdog role. Whatever position is chosen, Tampa Bay is going home after today’s contest and they are 20-7 UNDER as a road underdog of +100 to +150.


The final game of the series has 8:10 Eastern start and is viewable in local markets, with the UNDER 8-3 in previous 11 meetings in Chi-Town.  The StatFox Power Line shows White Sox -107


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