Just need to win a few games in a row and… – Lineups & Preview 7/7


Jul 6, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez (10) singles during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox sad train has one more afternoon in the Tampa station before rolling miserably to its next stop of pain. They’re 16 games under .500, they are 12.5 games out of the last playoff spot, they have scored 16 runs in their last seven games but if they can conquer David Price on Sunday, they’ll avoid a sweep.

John Danks is on a roll of two-straight quality outings in which he went seven innings or longer. A lot of White Sox starters are rolling at the moment. Has that made this stretch better or worse? Does it cheer anyone up to know the Sox run differential suggests they should only be the third-worst team in the American League?

Gordon Beckham has finally been rewarded for hitting all decent-like (.336/.363/.430–SINGLES, SINGLES, SINGLES) and moved up to the No. 2 slot of the league’s worst offense. However, that move simply corresponds with Alexei Ramirez being hilariously cast as a leadoff hitter while Alejandro De Aza gets a day off. In fact, Robin Ventura has sent all the lefties running for the hills in anticipation of Price.

Jeff Keppinger is batting cleanup while Adam Dunn sits.  Dayan Viciedo is being trusted on to provide offense despite being really nothing special against lefties all year. Brent Morel is wearing a uniform!

White Sox Lineup

1. Alexei Ramirez – SS
2. Gordon Beckham – 2B
3. Alex Rios – RF
4. Jeff Keppinger – 1B
5. Josh Phegley – C
6. Dayan Viciedo – DH
7. Brent Morel – 3B
8. Casper Wells – LF
9. Blake Tekotte – CF

John Danks, SP

All I’m seeing on Twitter is excitement over this lineup. “Change, of any kind” is really stirring the masses. Phegley is more or less guaranteed to get four plate appearances this way. That’s nice.

Tampa Bay Rays Lineup

1. Desmond Jennings – CF
2. Sean Rodriguez – LF
3. Ben Zobrist – 2B
4. Evan Longoria – 3B
5. James Loney – 1B
6. Wil Myers – RF
7. Luke Scott – DH
8. Jose Molina – C
9. Yunel Escobar – SS

David Price, SP

The Danks theory is being employed by Rays manager Joe Maddon to a limited degree. James Loney–an offensive hero all season long for the Rays–was hidden from Chris Sale but brought back specifically for Danks and Luke Scott also remains. What’s most interesting is what side switch-hitter Ben Zobrist elects to go on. Danks’ use of his changeup has increased dramatically, but his ability to bust right-handed hitters up and in has clearly diminished.

Where to Watch: CSN in Chicago, Sun Sports in Florida.

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan