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Two teams on the outside of the playoff picture in the American League square off Thursday as the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox begin a four-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. Chicago trails Detroit by one game in the AL Central as it dropped a 6-4 decision to Cleveland on Wednesday. The loss, their seventh in eight contests, landed the White Sox out of first place in the division for the first time since July 23.
While Chicago now needs help in order to get to the postseason, Tampa Bay’s situation is more dire. The Rays remained red-hot as they posted their season high-tying seventh consecutive victory Wednesday in Boston, but they still trail Oakland by three games for the second AL wild-card spot with seven contests remaining. The Rays also have another hurdle to leap over as the Los Angeles Angels sit between them and the Athletics, two games back.
Rays White Sox Betting
When: 8:10 PM ET, Thursday, September 27, 2012
Where: U.S Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), CSN (Chicago)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH James Shields (15-9, 3.65 ERA) vs. White Sox RH Jake Peavy (11-12, 3.40)
Shields is coming off a victory over Toronto on Friday in which he struck out nine and scattered six hits over seven scoreless innings. The 30-year-old has won three of his last four starts, tossing 16 scoreless frames over his last two triumphs. Shields dropped to 3-3 lifetime against Chicago on May 29, when he was tagged for six runs – five earned – and 10 hits in six frames.
Peavy has lost two of his last three starts, including a setback at the Los Angeles Angels on Friday in which he surrendered five runs and eight hits over five innings. The 31-year-old has won only two of his last nine outings despite allowing three runs or less six times in that span. Peavy, who will be facing Tampa Bay for the first time this season, is 2-1 with a 6.48 ERA in three career meetings with the Rays.
1. Shields is the first pitcher in Rays history to reach the 200-strikeout plateau in consecutive seasons.
2. Peavy has notched 200 innings and 30 starts for the first time since 2007, when he captured the National League Cy Young Award while with San Diego.
3. Tampa Bay C Jose Molina sat out Wednesday’s victory with a strained right quadriceps.