MLB

Thu, Sep 27, 2012 - 8:10 PM ET
 

Rays-White Sox Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Chicago White Sox aren't panicking despite falling out of first place in the AL Central, but facing a streaking Tampa Bay Rays club may not be the best way to regroup.

The slumping White Sox open a four-game series Thursday night against the streaking Rays, who are trying to win eight straight for the first time in eight years.

Chicago fell into second place in the Central for the first time since July 23 following a 6-4 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday, dropping the final two games in the three-game set.

The White Sox (82-73), who are now one game behind Detroit with seven games remaining, have lost seven of eight. They issued a season-high 12 walks Wednesday and went 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

Chicago has averaged 2.5 runs and hit .226 the last eight games.

"You're talking about a game lead, two-game, everything is so fragile. You talk about the momentum swings that can happen. This is one of them, the wrong way,'' Paul Konerko said. "It doesn't mean in two days it doesn't swing the other way."

Konerko's slump hasn't helped. After going 0 for 4 Wednesday, his season average dropped to .299 - the first time it has been below .300 this year. He's 8 for 44 (.182) over the last 12 games.

Things don't get any easier for Konerko and the White Sox. Tampa Bay (85-70) matched its longest winning streak of the season with a seventh consecutive victory Wednesday, defeating Boston 4-2 to continue its late playoff push.

Carlos Pena and Ben Francisco homered during a three-run fifth and Alex Cobb gave up three hits in five innings.

The Rays are three games behind Oakland for the second AL wild card and must also overtake the Los Angeles Angels, but manager Joe Maddon is reminded of last year's late run and win on the final day of the regular season that propelled them into the playoffs.

"I want it to be exactly like last year,'' Maddon said. "It's starting to look a lot like Christmas."

Tampa Bay, which has outscored opponents 55-17 during the winning streak, appears to have the edge in the pitching matchup as the Rays look to win eight in a row for the first time since a club-record 12-game run June 9-22, 2004.

James Shields (15-9, 3.65 ERA), who is 7-2 with a 2.04 ERA in his last 10 starts, takes the mound. He went seven scoreless innings in a 12-1 win over Toronto last Friday, fanning nine to reach 200 strikeouts for a second straight season.

"I've worked hard over the last couple years to get my game back in action," Shields told the Rays' official website. "To be able to throw 200 innings and 200 strikeouts is definitely a goal in mind, and I'm proud to get there this year again."

The right-hander is 3-3 with a 4.95 ERA in 10 starts against the White Sox, including a 7-2 loss May 29 after giving up six runs and 10 hits over six innings.

The White Sox counter with Jake Peavy (11-12, 3.40), who is 4-7 with a 4.20 ERA since the All-Star break - and all four wins have come against last-place Minnesota.

He allowed five runs and eight hits over five innings of a 6-2 loss to the Angels last Friday.

"Maybe when this is over you'll look back on it and say 'this is nice,' but I need to find a way to win and get this team into the playoffs," the oft-injured right-hander said after his first 200-inning season since 2007.

Peavy is facing the Rays for the first time since 2010. He is 2-1 with a 6.48 ERA over three career starts against them.

The White Sox swept a three-game series against the Rays on the road in May.

Tagged: White Sox, Rays, Paul Konerko

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..