Preview: Rays try to take series from White Sox in Thursday’s finale
TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay will look to right-hander Jake Odorizzi on an extra day of rest to help the Rays reach .500 in their rubber match against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday at Tropicana Field.
The teams split the first two games of the series, with the Rays winning 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Odorizzi (3-3, 3.53 ERA) has not won a decision since May 16 and is coming off his worst start of the year, giving up eight runs (three earned) and two home runs in 2 1/3 innings vs. the Seattle Mariners on Friday. However, he expects to bounce back with the additional rest time.
“We haven’t pitched very good,” Odorizzi said. “So I think some things were needed with the way we ended the road trip.”
Rays manager Kevin Cash decided to give his starters an extra day of rest and call up prospect Jacob Faria to pitch Wednesday. Faria won in his major league debut and Cash expects the rest of the rotation to pick up where he left off.
“(The starters are) probably not as crisp as what they’re capable of,” Cash said. “Nothing out of the ordinary. All the guys could have pitched on regular rest, but we felt this point in the schedule this would be a really good time to get them an extra day (off).”
Odorizzi is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in two starts against the White Sox.
The White Sox will counter with left-hander Derek Holland (4-5, 3.43), but one thing manager Rick Renteria wants to see out of his team is better defense.
“They are making adjustments every day,” Renteria said. “When you look at the young guys out there playing, they show signs of being able to show consistent play.”
The White Sox made two errors Wednesday. Third baseman Avisail Garcia had a fielding error on a single by Tim Beckham that led to a second run scoring on the play. Later in the inning, catcher Kevan Smith failed to apply a tag to Colby Rasmus at the plate for the third run of the inning.
“I think, since spring training, that process has begun,” Renteria said. “At some point, you just heighten the importance of being able to make sure that you’re able to do the little things that are important. All you’re trying to do is play clean baseball.”
Clean defensive baseball should help Holland on the mound as he tries to slow down the dangerous top of the order for the Rays. In 11 starts vs. the Rays, he is 4-3 with a 4.66 ERA.