White Sox-Rays Preview
The Chicago White Sox's season has been filled with its share of disappointment, sparking discussions they may be looking to revamp the roster.
If Adam Dunn is a player being shopped, he's sure increasing his value.
He'll look to stay hot and help Chicago make it five straight road wins against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.
The White Sox (34-48) are in last place in the AL Central and had lost five straight before taking two of three from Baltimore, including Thursday's 3-2 win. Dunn hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth for the victory, finishing 3 for 4 and also adding an RBI single in the sixth.
Dunn raised his average to .207 and is above the .200 mark for the first time since April 7. He's hitting .333 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs over his last 23 contests.
''Like I said from Day One, I've felt pretty good all year. Just wasn't getting any results," Dunn said. "Now it seems like I'm swinging at a little better pitches and putting some good wood on it."
Dunn had gone 0 for 21 with 13 strikeouts in his previous six against the Rays before hitting .357 with two homers as the teams split a four-game series in Chicago from April 25-28.
He hit a two-run shot off Jeremy Hellickson in the series opener, and he'll be on the hill again Friday looking to win his fourth straight start.
Hellickson (7-3, 4.90 ERA) has posted a 1.42 ERA over his last three after giving up a solo homer and striking out six in six innings of Sunday's 3-1 win over Detroit.
The right-hander won five of his six June starts, tying the franchise record for victories in a month after going 2-2 with a 5.61 ERA through April and May.
"I really can't put a finger on it. I was just giving up a really big inning every time out," Hellickson said. "Right now I'm just making a big pitch when I need to. Getting a lot of help out there."
Hellickson struck out eight but allowed three runs in the first inning and five through six frames of a 5-2 loss to the White Sox on April 25. He'll look to pitch Tampa Bay to its sixth win in seven games after a 7-5 win over Houston in 11 innings Thursday.
The Rays (46-40) got three hits and three RBIs from Yunel Escobar, and Desmond Jennings had his second three-hit game in three days.
James Loney's single extended his hitting streak to a career high-tying 15 games during which he's hitting .400.
Tampa Bay scored 28 runs in the four-game set with the Astros and may have another chance for a big night against struggling White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod, who has posted a 7.40 ERA over his last four outings.
Axelrod (3-4, 4.57) threw 111 pitches in six innings and allowed three runs - including two homers - in a 4-3 loss to Cleveland on Saturday, but was pleased with his outing.
"I feel like, all in all, it was a step in the right direction for me, and I pitched pretty well," Axelrod said.
The right-hander pitched well in the series finale versus the Rays in April, giving up three runs and four hits in six innings before the White Sox fell 8-3.
The Rays have batted .173 with eight total runs during a four-game home skid against Chicago.