The Texas Rangers play host to the Chicago White Sox in the finale of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon from Globe Life Field. The White Sox enter as the AL Central champs, pending them not having one of the biggest collapses in baseball history. For the Rangers, a long season now sees them in last place in the AL West standings and only looking to play the role of spoiler. Whether it's adjusting teams' seeding or kicking a team out of a Wild Card spot, the Rangers will have the opportunity to have their hands on a few different outcomes. The two teams split the first two games of the weekend, with the White Sox dominating on Friday, winning 8-0, while Saturday was quite a bit quieter, with the Rangers winning 2-1 to even up the series. On the season, these two teams have met five times heading into Sunday, with the White Sox winning four of those games. Expect Chicago to do everything they can to get back in the win column against the Rangers, while Globe Field should expect a great turnout at home.
White Sox Push For SeedingThe White Sox spent some time in the first few months not atop the AL Central but have clearly looked the class of the division. They not only sit safely in first but now are jockeying for a position to host the first round of the MLB Playoffs. Chicago's balance has been key all season long, between their strong rotation and bullpen, as well as having one of the best lineups in all of baseball. There might not be a team who battled more injuries all season long than Chicago has and while those woes continue, there's no one who jumps out on the injury report. Andrew Vaughn (back) and Adam Engel (shoulder) hurt the offensive depth, while Evan marshall (forearm) is a bullpen arm that the team will be itching to get back.
Good vibes in Texas. pic.twitter.com/a0ZNcmTBjh— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 18, 2021
Chicago ranks near the top of baseball in nearly every offensive statistic. They rank seventh in runs per game and fifth in both batting average and hits per game. 19th in home runs is a surprise but with the injuries that hurt the lineup to start things off, that number continues to improve. Luis Robert has been the offensive leader of late, hitting .520 and adding a home run. Behind him is Yoan Moncada, hitting .300 and then a host of other players flirting between .250 and .300. With the high-octane nature of the offense, there will surely be someone ready to step up in a big way on Sunday.
According to MLB.com, Lucas Giolito will get the ball for the White Sox as one of the most experienced arms in baseball. He enters with only a 9-9 record but his ERA is impressive, sitting at 3.77. Coming off back-to-back Cy Young contender seasons, he's still looking for the ability to find that higher-end form before October rolls around. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs since August 4th and the sharpness of late will give him a good chance to make easy work of Texas' offense.
Rangers Embrace Spoiler RoleTexas had medium-sized expectations when the season started and they didn't do much to improve on those at all. The last-place AL West team has struggled with consistency for much of the season and trade deadline moves halted any momentum that the team did have at one point. Texas lost Ronald Guzman (knee) early on and it seemed to impact the offense almost instantly in the spring. Add that to six relievers and two starters out, and the struggles start to make sense after getting put into perspective. Expect the Rangers to be able to compete on Sunday but for them to come away with a win is another story.
Texas ranks near the bottom of baseball offensively and while most teams at least have one statistic that they thrive in, Texas is consistent across the rankings. They rank 29th in runs per game and batting average, as well as 27th in hits per game, and 26th in home run per game. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is leading the way with a .385 average over the last week and combining that with a lineup that has some pop to it lately, leads to an offense that can compete if Chicago isn't ready.
According to MLB.com, Jordan Lyles will get the ball as the righty looks to secure the series win and upset for the Rangers. He enters with some poor numbers though, sitting at 9-11 with a 5.20 ERA, but has been better lately. He's only allowed one total earned run in two starts and 14 total innings this month. He's also been able to grab a win in three straight starts and while completely shutting down Chicago seems like too much of an ask, Lyles has the confidence and momentum currently to make things interesting.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The White Sox ran away with their division and there's a reason for that, that they are really strong. Their lineup remains not only one of the best from a production standpoint and depth standpoint, but they seem to really have fun playing together. With seeding still on the line, the White Sox continues to impress and won't take the foot off the gas on Sunday. For the Rangers, it's too much to try to expect how Lyles will pitch and while he's been better of late, he still needs to do it on a more consistent basis to expect much to come from Sunday's start. The White Sox should be able to make quick work of Texas and their offense will outwork the Rangers and help them come away with a series win.
Full-Game Total Pick
With the White Sox coming to town, big numbers have come to be expected to be ready. While the potency of the offense continues to be true, their depth and shuffling of the lineup leave it possible that the right combo doesn't start or make things happen. For the Rangers, their lineup isn't strong enough regardless of who is out there to make much of a difference and their top hitters in Garcia has been quiet of late, and without the pop in his bat, Texas remains in a world of trouble. Additionally, according to covers.com, for the White Sox, the under is 5-0-1 in their last six road games against a right-handed starter and is 4-0-1 in their last five road games.