Friday night baseball and we will see the Chicago White Sox travel to the Lone Star State to take on the Texas Rangers in game 1 of their 3 game series. The game is scheduled for an 8:05 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on. Currently the odds have Texas favored at -132, while Chicago is dogs of +124. The total for the game sits at 9 runs.
Free Analysis: After being staggered and knocked out of the American League Central lead by Detroit last weekend, Chicago regrouped with three straight wins to regain a share of first place. After dropping the final five contests on a 10-game road trip, Chicago returned home and completed a three-game sweep of Minnesota with Wednesday's 8-2 win. If their recent road woes are any indication, the White Sox could be hard-pressed to keep things going as they head out on another six-game trek. Chicago is batting .195 and has been outscored 30-9 during its season-high five-game skid away from home. Chicago, though, should receive a boost from catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who's expected to be available after missing the last two games with a mild right oblique strain. Third baseman Kevin Youkilis is also hoping to play after spraining his right ankle Wednesday. The White Sox have gotten solid starting pitching from a rotation that features All-Star Chris Sale, who starts tonight. In his first year as a starter, Sale has emerged as a serious threat to Justin Verlander’s hold on the AL Cy Young award. The lanky left-hander is second in the league in ERA and third in WHIP even after a rare off day in his last start at Detroit (7 IP, 7 H, 5 ER on July 21). Sale went 7 1/3 innings in a July 3 win over the Rangers, giving up one run on five hits. Texas, meanwhile, has led the AL West all season long and still owns a five-game advantage over both Los Angeles and red-hot Oakland. Chicago will be facing a Texas team that has been the most well-balanced team in baseball all year long, leading the major leagues in runs scored and batting average while also ranking among the American League leaders in most pitching categories. Signed to a $60 million deal during the offseason, not including a $51.7 million posting fee, Darvish (11-6, 3.88 ERA) has more than held his own in the big leagues. The right-hander's 10.24 strikeouts per nine innings rank third in the majors and he leads all AL rookies in wins. Darvish was at his best Saturday in a 9-2 road win over the Los Angeles Angels, allowing two runs, three hits, four walks and striking out a season high-tying 11 over seven innings. Darvish has never faced Chicago (53-45) but knows he'll have his work cut out against one of the most potent offenses in baseball. The White Sox are fourth in the majors with 120 homers and sixth with 466 runs. This weekend’s series also showcases the top two home run hitters in the majors, Chicago DH Adam Dunn (30) and Texas OF Josh Hamilton (28). The home team has won five of the six head-to-head meetings this season, with the Rangers winning two of three at The Ballpark in Arlington in April and the White Sox taking three in a row earlier this month in Chicago.
Free Pick: Gotta love the Rangers here, especially with double the revenge. First was the fact that Chris Sale was the starter when the Rangers took their worst loss of the year, a 19-2 defeat in Chicago back on July 3rd and the second revenge factor is the fact that Chicago also swept Texas in that series. Chris Sale has been special for the Sox this year, but after allowing 5 ER's in his last start may he be tiring a bit? In his last 2 years he has pitched just 94 total inning, but this year he is already at 117 innings pitched. The Ranger offense has been struggling for much of the month, but they showed signs of coming out of it in their last series vs Boston. Texas does average 5.4 rpg at home and when Darvish has been on the mound at home they have averaged 6.6 rpg for him. Yu is 6-1 at home with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. The White Sox score very well at home, but on the road they have averaged 4.08 rpg, including putting up just 3.9 rp/9 innings off of righties away from home. Payback should be in order here by a team that is probably the best in baseball.
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MLB Free Picks: White Sox at Rangers BettingWhat baseball bettors need to know about White Sox at Rangers on Friday (7/27/12) - with Pregame.com's Vegas Runner and host RJ Bell.