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Gamethread: Rays at White Sox

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The South Siders and Tampa battle for the top record in baseball

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox
Lucas Giolito makes his 100th White Sox appearance
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a beautiful day for baseball, sunshine and 71 degrees at game time, and what could be a game worthy of the weather.

The White Sox and Rays take the field for a game that will determine who wins the three-game series at the GuRF, as well as who will, at least for a moment, have the best record in the big leagues.

Lucas Giolito will be on the mound for the Sox — his 100th appearance and 98th start in one Sox uniform or another (who can keep track of them?). Facing him will be lefty (yes, they dare throw a second lefty against our southpaw bashers) Ryan Yarbrough.

Yarbrough is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and 4.22 FIP, good for a 106 ERA+ but a negative bWAR. He doesn’t have major platoon splits, with righties having a slightly lower batting average (.237 to .245) but higher OPS (.701 to .662). His last two starts included six shutout innings against the Orioles, which may not mean much, and a pretty brilliant complete game against the Yankees giving up six hits, two runs, and no walks.

Yarbrough will be facing a Sox lineup that for some bizarre reason doesn’t include Adam Engel, but is also missing, for much better reasons, Yermín Mercedes.

Giolito takes on a Tampa lineup that is very heavily left-handed.

Neither team has shown much offense in the first two games, but maybe they’ve been saving up for the grand finale.

First pitch 1:10 Central, with the usual suspects doing the broadcast coverage.