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It's officially the dog days of summer in baseball. Our team of writers and handicappers gathered three of their top picks for Saturday's MLB action.

Kansas City Royals (55-67) at New York Yankees (64-58)

The once-proud and once-mighty New York Yankees are searching for answers.

As they fall further and further behind in the playoff chase, the Yankees look to bounce back from another difficult loss as they continue a three-game home series against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.

New York (64-58) is in jeopardy of having its string of 13 straight appearances in the playoffs come to an end. The Yankees have lost eight of 11 games to fall 10 1/2 games behind first-place Tampa Bay in the AL East race and seven games behind Boston, the wild-card leader.

Sidney Ponson (7-3, 4.27 ERA) will make his ninth start of the year with New York. Ponson, who began the season with Texas, is 3-2 with a 4.72 ERA with the Yankees.

He allowed four runs over 7 2-3 innings in a 4-0 loss at Minnesota on Monday.

Ponson is 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA over his last six starts against the Royals. He beat them on May 1 when he was pitching for Texas by allowing one run over eight innings in a 2-1 victory in which he outpitched Zack Greinke, who suffered his first loss after a 3-0 start.

Pick: Kansas City - Best line +160 SBG Global

Chicago White Sox (68-53) at Oakland A’s (56-65)

The Chicago White Sox's continued struggles in Oakland cost them sole possession of first place in the AL Central.

Now they hope John Danks, who has pitched well on the road and has two solid starts this season against the Athletics, can help them bounce back Saturday when they continue the three-game series.

Chicago (68-53) fell to 6-28 against Oakland on the road since 2001 after losing 6-4 to the Athletics (56-65) on Friday. A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin homered in the first inning to give Chicago a 3-0 lead, but Oakland scored twice in the sixth and eighth innings and won on pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki's walk-off, two-run homer.

Greg Smith (5-11, 3.92) counters for Oakland, looking to win his first start since June 30 against the Angels, going 0-5 with a 5.17 ERA in the seven starts since.

He pitched 4 2-3 innings against Detroit on Sunday, allowing one run and three hits in a 6-1 loss. Smith walked seven and was pulled after throwing 95 pitches.

Pick: Chicago White Sox - Best line –135 SBG Global

Tampa Bay Rays (74-47) at Texas Rangers (61-62)

With Carl Crawford potentially out for the season and AL Rookie of the Year candidate Evan Longoria also on the disabled list, it seemed the Tampa Bay Rays' underwhelming offense might finally catch up with them.

Instead, the Rays are scoring more often.

Tampa Bay will look for its fourth win in a row and seventh in eight games on Saturday as it continues its road trip in Arlington against the slumping Texas Rangers.

Since they pulled a season-high six games over .500 on Aug. 5, the Rangers' pitching has reached a new low. They've lost eight of nine and have allowed 69 runs in their last seven games.

Not only is Texas having trouble getting outs, but it's also having problems scoring runs - something that's not normally an issue for the best offense in baseball. The Rangers have recorded eight hits - all singles - in getting shut out in their last two games.

Pick: Tampa Bay - Best line -120 SBG Global … -augu.html

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