White Sox-Rays Preview

While Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore was able to recover from a rough

three-week stretch, Chicago’s Chris Sale hopes a new month is what

it will take to end his current drought.

Trying to win his fourth straight start, Moore hopes to help the

Rays extend Sale’s winless stretch to seven games and record a

fourth consecutive victory over the White Sox on Saturday

night.

After going 8-0 with a 2.99 ERA in his first nine starts, Moore

(11-3, 3.65 ERA) went 0-3 with a 9.31 ERA in the next five. Since

then, the left-hander has allowed four runs and overcome 12 walks

by striking out 24 in 19 1-3 innings to win three straight.

He gave up two hits and fanned nine in seven innings of a 12-0

victory at Houston on Monday.

“He’s going to continue to get better,” manager Joe Maddon

said. “That’s his 11th win right there and we’re still talking

about the little foibles that he may have.

“But to his credit he knows that and he knows that there’s room

for improvement, and because he does he’s going to continue to get

better.”

Moore improved to 2-1 with a 1.47 ERA against the White Sox

(34-49) after he allowed a solo homer to Adam Dunn and two other

hits while striking out nine in six innings of a 10-4 victory April

27.

Moore went 1-1 with a 1.46 ERA last season when he squared off

both times against Sale (5-7, 2.79), who is 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA as

a starter versus Tampa Bay (47-40). Sale allowed two runs, four

hits and walked four but struck out seven in seven innings of a 5-2

win over the Rays on April 25.

That victory began a five-start stretch where Sale went 4-0 with

a 1.18 ERA. However, after the left-hander missed his next

scheduled start May 21 because of shoulder tendinitis, the calendar

turned to June, where he went 0-5 with a 3.19 ERA in six

outings.

His teammates have totaled 12 runs in those starts, and managed

six singles Sunday when Sale gave up three runs and struck out 10

in eight innings of a 4-0 loss to Cleveland.

“Just another tough one,” he said. “Just got to keep your head

up, keep plugging along.”

Chicago showed little fight while losing for the 25th time in 35

games, 8-3 at Tampa Bay on Friday. Desmond Jennings had three hits

and James Loney added two with an RBI for the Rays, who have

outscored their opponents 58-28 while winning nine of 12.

“As a team we’re doing a really good job of getting better

at-bats and that’s huge to make sure that the team keeps hitting

the way we’re doing right now,” Rays catcher Jose Molina said.

Loney is batting .406 during his 16-game hitting streak, while

Jennings has hit the same over his last seven.

Jennings, however, is 1 for 6 with three strikeouts versus

Sale.

Despite Chicago’s struggles, second baseman Gordon Beckham has

batted .390 with seven RBIs in his last 11 contests.