MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago White Sox

Date/Time: August 3, 8:10 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Nate Karns (6-5, 3.37) vs. Jose Quintana (6-9, 3.52)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Chicago -130

Total: 8

As the Minnesota Twins continue to falter, wins get more and more important for both the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox. These two wild card hopefuls will open up a series in the Windy City on Monday night as Nate Karns opposes Jose Quintana. It’s a bit surprising that both of these teams are hovering close to the .500 mark after some of the early-season adversity they had to endure. But, it’s August and they’re in the hunt, and that’s about all you can ask from two flawed teams.

Neither team was particularly active last week at the trade deadline, deciding to see what happens with the current roster. The Rays certainly could have used a bat or two, as they entered play on Sunday ranked 24th in wOBA. The White Sox were one spot behind in 25th, thanks to their recent offensive explosion. Chicago spent most of the season not doing anything offensively, but they have averaged 5.35 runs per game since the All-Star Break.

Nate Karns will have this improved White Sox lineup to contend with on Monday. Karns has had a very impressive season for the Rays, who have desperately needed it with injuries to Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, and Matt Moore’s continued rehab for Tommy John surgery. The Rays sent out some feelers to capitalize on Karns’s trade value, but with Moore sent back to the minor leagues and Smyly still rehabbing a shoulder injury, the Rays could ill-afford to lose another arm. Karns is 6-5 with a 3.37 ERA, 3.75 FIP, and a 3.80 xFIP on the year.

It seems like Karns came out of nowhere, but he regularly posted good strikeout numbers in the Nationals farm system and had a fine year in Triple-A last season before making a cameo with the Rays late in the year. Karns is basically a two-pitch pitcher with a four-seamer and a hard curveball accounting for about 88 percent of his usage. A changeup is more of a show pitch, but it has some value. The White Sox offense ranks 20th in wOBA against righties, which is a big step up from their performance against lefties, which is the worst in the league. In 20 starts, the Rays have only managed to score 44 runs for Karns while he has been in the game.

Is there a more underrated pitcher in baseball than Jose Quintana? It may be hard to find one. Quintana is just 6-9 this season, but owns a 3.52 ERA, a 3.20 FIP, and a 3.42 xFIP. The White Sox are awful defensively, which has been something that Quintana has had to deal with most of his career. This season, his control has taken a major step forward. Quintana had always posted above average walk rates, but he’s down to a five percent free pass rate this season, which is a big reason why he has been able to overcome the bad defense.

Quintana has the best swing-and-miss rate of his career and Don Cooper has done wonders with him. Quintana looked like a back-end guy with good control coming out of the minor leagues, but it was clear that his pitchability was worth taking a chance on. He only made nine starts in Double-A before getting the call in 2012 and has never looked back. He’s on pace for his third straight 200-inning season and certainly deserves more attention than he gets. Like Karns, run support has been lacking for Quintana this season. The White Sox have scored 49 runs with him on the mound over 21 starts.

MLB Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays

For all of their offensive warts, the Rays rank sixth in wOBA against lefties on the season at .322. Their 110 wRC+ ranks fifth. The White Sox put together a mini run that got everybody excited, but they really leveled off against the Yankees this past weekend. It seems like a hangover could be in the works from that series and the Rays have a quality starter on the mound. Karns’s one concerning stat is his walk rate, but the White Sox don’t walk, so that’s not really a concern in this outing.