Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview


Coming off a sweep of the recently struggling Houston Astros, the Chicago White Sox embark on a brief five-game road trip for a three game series in Tampa Bay against the Rays before going to Pittsburgh for a two-game home and home series with the Pirates.

Can our boys make up some more ground in the division and FINALLY sustain some good baseball? Let’s take a look at the matchups against the Rays and find out.

Friday’s matchup sees John Danks versus right-hander Matt Andriese. Making only his fourth career start, Andriese has failed to throw more than four innings in his previous three starts.

Coming off a great home series against the Astros, our boys need to pounce on him early and give Danks some room to work with. Danks has been inconsistent in spotting his pitches this year and he needs to work on keeping his best pitch, the changeup, down and out of the middle of the zone.

I will be less worried about Danks losing the game if the Sox bats can come alive against the 25-year old right-hander and win the game for them in spite of however Danks throws.

Jun 2, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s afternoon tilt in the Trop will see Jeff Samardzija square off against Rays’ ace Chris Archer. Before I talk about the year Archer is having to this point, I’d like to talk about the year Shark is having.

In many ways, Samardzija’s season to this point is a microcosm of the Sox season as a whole. Some starts he shows his ace quality stuff the Sox traded with Oakland for in the offseason.

Other starts, he just has no control and looks awful out there. Notably his last two starts, he has given up a combined 15 earned runs and has had shaky control at best. Before that, he looked like a top of the rotation pitcher going seven innings once and eight innings twice giving up a total of six earned runs. Like Samardzija, the White Sox need to find sustained success and rhythm if they are to be successful the rest of this year and this weekend’s start could go a long way in helping.

On to the Rays’ ace, Archer is on a streak of three straight starts with no walks and at least 10 strikeouts. That right there is the epitome of control and overwhelming stuff. How will the Sox off and on offense respond to him and prevent a fourth similar start?

I think they have to get to him early and often. I criticize some hitters for not working the count enough and being too aggressive, but in this case I am all for it. With Shark’s recent struggles and the run Archer is having, I imagine if the Sox are going to be successful they need to make their best effort to score some runs before Archer finds his rhythm.

Jun 3, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) throws during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s amusement sees our ace, Chris Sale, going for his seventh win of the season against the Rays led by right hander Nate Karns. Karns started the season with a string of shaky outings but has seemed to find his way by owning an earned run average of around the mid-to-upper 3’s over his past seven starts.

As evidenced by Sale’s recent outings, if the Sox can manage to scratch across a couple runs against the Rays, they look to be in good shape with their ace out on the bump. A player I would really like to see have a solid series is Melky Cabrera. Recently, manager Robin Ventura has moved him from second in the batting order down to sixth to try and kick start his game.

Cabrera responded by having just three hits in the Sox five-game homestand. I really hope he can figure it out soon not only because of the money the Sox are paying him but for the production out of the two-hole the White Sox have been searching for which they have been searching for a number of years.

This series is a good way to show what the Sox are made of and if they can sustain some sort of a streak. Fifty games in, our boys have to get moving before the wild card and division get too far out of reach. Go Sox.

Next: Stats outlook before Rays series

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