Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox Series Odds and Preview
by Matt Severance - 4/20/2010
It’s not good to have the word Sox attached to your Major League Baseball team these days. The Red version is 4-9 and off to its worst start since 1996. And the White guys are in the same boat, as Chicago enters this series with red-hot Tampa Bay with the same 4-9 mark for its worst start since 1997. Only Baltimore has a worse record in the American League than the Soxes.
The White Sox were just swept three games in Cleveland, falling to 1-5 against the Tribe this year, and their offense stinks. A.J. Pierzynski was 2-for-19 on the road trip, while Carlos Quentin is in a 2-for-25 slump and Mark Kotsay is 2-for-23 in his seven starts. Chicago is hitting just .222 as a team, which is second-worst in the AL. There have been rumors that hitting coach Greg Walker’s job might be in jeopardy.
This three-game set with Tampa Bay opens a six-game homestand and starts a 12-game run against teams from outside the AL Central for the Pale Hose, who opened at -135 on WagerWeb for this series.
The Rays (+105 for this series) are rolling, as they just crushed Boston in sweeping four games, their first sweep of at least a three-game series ever at Fenway. Tampa Bay, which has won seven straight games – all on the road, outscored Boston 24-9 and never trailed. It would set a club record by winning an eighth straight road game today. B.J. Upton has found his power stroke with four homers (and nine RBI) in the past five games. He didn’t even hit his fourth homer last season until mid-June. The Rays didn’t win 10 games in all of April last year and it took them until May 6 to log their seventh road win in 2009.
Here are the probable pitchers in this series:
Tuesday – Tampa Bay LHP David Price (2-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. Chicago LHP John Danks (1-0, 1.38)
Wednesday – Tampa Bay RHP Wade Davis (0-1, 4.09) vs. Chicago LHP Mark Buehrle (2-1, 3.00)
Thursday – Tampa Bay RHP James Shields (1-0, 4.50) vs. Chicago RHP Jake Peavy (0-0, 6.00)
Price is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in one career start against the White Sox, which came at U.S. Cellular Field. Danks is 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five career starts against the Rays.
Freddy Garcia was original scheduled to start Wednesday for the White Sox, but the team is skipping his start and going with Buehrle on regular rest Wednesday. Garcia was just lit up in Toronto on Thursday, allowing seven runs on eight hits in three-plus innings. The Rays also have some good left-handed hitters, which is just one more reason to go with Buehrle. Led by Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay also runs a lot and Garcia isn’t great at holding runners on. The last time Buehrle faced the Rays you may remember because he threw the 17th perfect game in big league history on July 23, 2009, at U.S. Cellular. Since that game, the White Sox are 14 games under .500.
Chicago at least avoids Rays starter Matt Garza in this series. He is the first pitcher to start a season with three consecutive outings of at least eight innings pitched, allowing one earned run or fewer, since Curt Schilling did it for Philadelphia in 1998. Garza is the first AL pitcher to do so since Boston's Roger Clemens in 1991.
The White Sox won three of four against Tampa Bay at home last year and three of four in St. Petersburg. They have won 17 of their last 24 games at U.S. Cellular against the Rays.
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