The Coach's MLB Early Bird S-P-E-C-I-A-L

The Coach's MLB Early Bird S-P-E-C-I-A-L

Tampa Bay vs. Chi White Sox, 08/05/2015 14:10 EDT, Score: 5 - 6

Point Spread: +1½/-205 Tampa Bay

Sportsbook: SportBet

Result: Win

Both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago White Sox are highly involved in the chase for a Wild Card in the American League. The Rays are two games back of the Jays for the last Wild Card, two games ahead of the White Sox, and the Rays won't give this away easy looking to complete the three-game sweep against an AL rival.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Pitching - The White Sox hand the ball to Carlos Rodon (4-4, 4.84 ERA) who was torched for eight runs on eight hits in three innings of a 13-6 home-loss to the Yankees his last start. He's 3-3 with a 5.87 ERA eight outings home in Chicago for the year and has struggled with right-handed batters who are hitting .311 against the 22 year old rookie. The Rays will counter with Erasmo Ramirez (8-4, 3.61 ERA) who's 0-1 while conceding nine runs (six earned) on 12 hits in 13 1/3 innings over his last two starts. He had allowed two runs or fewer in nine straight outings prior though and has been extremely efficient away from home of late going 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his last seven road starts.

2. Situational - The Rays are 9-2 in their last 11 road games vs. a left-handed starter and have won five of Ramirez's last six road starts as a road underdog. The White Sox meanwhile have won just one of their last nine home at U.S. Cellular Field.

3. X-Factor - The Rays have won five straight meetings.

Selection: This is a play on the Tampa Bay Rays +1.5 (6*)

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