Texas Rangers vs. Chicago White Sox Preview and Pick – Mendoza vs. Buehrle

Texas Rangers (52-48) +130, 10 1/2 at Chicago White Sox (55-43), 8 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The Texas Rangers are trying to creep a little closer to first place in both their division and the AL wild-card race, while the Chicago White Sox are trying to hang on to first place in their division. Thus is the situation as the two teams meet for the middle game of a three-game series Tuesday night at US Cellular Field.

The sportsbooks are listing Chicago and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (7-8, 3.69) as 140 home favorites for Tuesday’s game, with a total of 10 1/2, while the Rangers and Luis Mendoza (2-3, 6.28) are getting +130 as road underdogs.

The Rangers took the opener of this series Monday night 6-1, and are now 2-2 since the All-Star break, despite scoring just nine runs over that span. The White Sox, meanwhile, are 1-3 since the break, and have allowed 28 runs over that span.

So going into Tuesday’s action, Chicago leads the AL Central by a half-game over the second-place Minnesota Twins, while Texas has climbed into second place in the AL West, 8 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Angels.

The Rangers also sit in fourth place in the AL wild-card race, 5 games behind the race-leading Boston Red Sox.

Texas is 27-27 on the road this year, 37-41 as underdogs, and 57-43 vs. the run line.

Chicago is 33-16 at home this season, 35-20 as favorites, and 55-43 vs. the run line.

The Rangers have taken three of four games from the Sox so far this season, with the totals going 2-2, despite the games averaging 13.8 total runs per. Last year, Texas took the season series from the White Sox four games to two, with the totals going 1-4-1, as the games averaging just 7.8 total runs.

Over his last three starts, including a solid showing vs. the White Sox 11 days ago (one ER, three hits, eight Ks in six IP), Mendoza has allowed 10 ER and 21 base-runners (hits + walks) in 12 IP. The Rangers are 1-5 in Mendoza’s starts this year, the totals 4-2.

Over his last three starts, including a decent performance vs. Kansas City last Friday, Buehrle has given up seven ER and 25 BR in 20 IP. Chicago is 9-11 in Buehrle’s starts this year, the totals also 9-11.

Buehrle has started just one game vs. the Rangers over the last two seasons, but that happened to be a no-hitter he tossed last April.

Offensively, Texas ranks 4th in the majors this season in team BA at .279, 4th in team OBP at .349, 1st in team slugging at .455, and is averaging 5.5 runs per game.

Chicago ranks 8th in batting at .265, 9th in OBP at .338, 4th in slugging at .442, and is averaging 4.9 RPG.

Over the last five games, the Texas bullpen has been clipped for 13 ER and 33 BR in 16 IP.

Over its’ last five games, the Chicago pen has been knocked around for 15 ER and 30 BR in 16 IP.

On the injury/personnel front, Chicago has closer Bobby Jenks back after a stint on the DL.

The totals are 52-44 in Rangers games this year, 44-53 in Sox games, and 25-23 in games played at US Cellular Field, which are averaging 9.6 total runs this season.

Zman’s Pick: This seems like a fair price to lay against a young gas can pitcher. Take the Sox at -140.