White Sox, Rays streaking in opposite directions

BY foxsports • September 28, 2016

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox will try to increase their winning streak to five games Wednesday night when they host the Tampa Bay Rays.

Although the White Sox (76-81) have no chance at reaching the playoffs, a .500 finish is a remote possibility. Chicago has two games remaining against Tampa Bay before finishing the season with three games at home against the last-place Minnesota Twins.

As Chicago is finishing strong, Tampa Bay (65-92) is headed in the opposite direction. After a 13-6 defeat to the White Sox on Tuesday, the Rays have lost five games in a row, nine of their past 11 and 13 of their past 19.

White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (4-8, 3.98 ERA) will make his final start of the season. Gonzalez was released by the Baltimore Orioles during spring training but has found success in Chicago. In his past 12 outings, he has recorded 10 quality starts.

Gonzalez credits mental toughness as the biggest reason for his recent success.

"I had a tough year last season toward the end with Baltimore, and then I had some injuries and wasn't feeling 100 percent," Gonzalez said. "Mentally, I've been working on that this year, and it has been helping me very much. It has shown on the field. I'm going to keep working with that.

"We all know that baseball is very much mental. You've got to be strong about it."

Rays left-hander Blake Snell (6-8, 3.65 ERA) will take the mound against the White Sox. In his most recent outing, the 23-year-old rookie pitched five scoreless innings against the New York Yankees to earn the victory.

Command issues have plagued Snell throughout the season. He has walked 50 batters to go along with 94 strikeouts in 86 1/3 innings.

Several White Sox hitters are swinging hot bats and could pose a challenge for Snell. On Tuesday, Chicago battered the Rays for a season-high-tying run total.

Third baseman Todd Frazier increased his hitting streak to 11 games and collected his 97th RBI of the season. Frazier is sitting on 39 home runs and hopes to notch a personal milestone by hitting No. 40 in the next five contests. His homer and RBI totals are already career highs.

Chicago left fielder Melky Cabrera is hitting .327 with five home runs and 22 RBIs in 25 games in September. Cabrera reached 40 doubles for the first time since 2011 and has tallied 14 home runs and 82 RBIs.

Even though both teams are out of contention, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he did not want to experiment too much with his lineup.

"Not yet," Ventura said. "There are some guys that are still looking for personal things, and you want to make sure you're respectful of that."

Meanwhile, the Rays will try to find some positives in the games that remain. Left fielder Corey Dickerson is hitting .380 (27-for-71) with five home runs and 13 RBIs in his past 19 games. Catcher Curt Casali also is looking to stay hot after going deep against White Sox left-hander Chris Sale for his first home run since July 30.

Right-handed reliever Chase Whitley could make another appearance this season despite a heavy workload Tuesday.

"There is a chance," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Whitley, who pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed four runs (two earned). "We're going to talk through some things, but there's a good chance Whitley throws again for us."

share story