This preview is written by a locked-out-of-his-account Matt Adams. The headline is obviously by James Fegan.
The last game the White Sox played at Tropicana Field contained a Hawk Harrelson meltdown. Inquiring as to the doings of Mark Wegner in a histrionic fashion is now part of the White Sox lexicon and Hawk has only gotten more emotional in the year-plus since the incident. That game was also rotation fill-in Jose Quintana’s second start. Tonight, another rotation fill-in turned regular starter makes a start as Dylan Axelrod heads to the hill against the Rays.
Axelrod’s reasonable first half appears to be trending towards his likely talent level of “are you sure he should be starting?” as his outings are short and his contact rates are plentiful. His most recent start, which came against Cleveland, was technically a Quality Start as he survived six innings while allowing three runs. It also represents his best start since he faced the Mariners a month ago. He’ll spend the remainder of the season fighting to keep his ERA below 5.00, starting tonight.
Jeremy Hellickson’s 2013 has been similar to Axelrod’s, however Hellickson’s expectations were set much higher. He’s just recently pulled his ERA back under 5.00, and is a bad start away from returning above that line. He’s looked a lot better over the last few starts. In his last three he’s allowed just three total runs in 19 innings while facing three quality teams in the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Tigers.
Pitching matchups be damned, the White Sox are coming off of a series win! Let’s call it the Jim Thome effect. As the Sox are trying to get themselves into debt to the airlines shuttling players back and forth from Charlotte to Chicago, today marks the first day that a roster spot will be taken by the hot-hitting Josh Phegley. Phegley is in the middle of an outlier season, offensively speaking and will earn big league pay for a while as a reward. A poor performing team always welcomes change, hopefully Mr. Phegley can provide a spark to help the team win some games..
White Sox Lineup
Dylan Axelrod, SP
Tekotte and Phegley both getting some instant playing time after their call-up.
Tampa Bay Rays Lineup
Jeremy Hellickson, SP
Where to Watch: Today’s game will be broadcast on CSN and Sun Sports. 6:10 Central start time.