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News » White Sox-Rays Preview 2009-04-17

White Sox-Rays Preview 2009-04-17

White Sox-Rays Preview 2009-04-17
After winning the 2005 American League Cy Young Award, Bartolo Colon spent most of his time away from the mound, enduring injuries and even a suspension.

The White Sox's burly right-hander began this season by showing his old form, and will look for another strong outing Friday night as Chicago continues its four-game road series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Finishing 21-8 with the Los Angeles Angels in 2005, Colon was the runaway Cy Young winner, but started just 35 times over the next three seasons with the Angels and Boston. He made five trips to the disabled list in that time, and his one-year tenure with the Red Sox last season ended with a suspension after he left the team for his native Dominican Republic to attend to personal matters.

In January, the White Sox signed the veteran to a one-year contract after he had elbow surgery in the previous fall. Colon began his second stint with the team by throwing six scoreless innings with three hits and two walks on Friday in an 8-0 victory over Minnesota.

"As soon as I left my house driving here, I felt fine," Colon told the team's official Web site through a translator. "I felt good. I was excited."

Colon, 15-13 in 2003 with Chicago, will face the Rays for the first time in two seasons, but has experienced plenty of success against Tampa Bay with a 9-2 record and 3.41 ERA in 17 career starts. At Tropicana Field, he is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in eight starts.

The White Sox (5-4) kicked off the rematch of last season's AL division series with a 3-2 victory Thursday as Bobby Jenks worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning, and Jermaine Dye hit his third home run in four games - a two-run shot in the second - for one of his three hits.

A.J. Pierzynski and Josh Fields each added three hits in support of John Danks, who struck out eight over six innings for his first win.

The Rays will look to even the series with right-hander James Shields, whose previous meeting with Chicago was a win in the four-game postseason series. Shields (1-1, 3.65 ERA) was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three previous career starts against the White Sox, but began Tampa Bay's run to its first AL pennant by allowing three runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings.

He also recorded the Rays' only victory in their World Series loss to Philadelphia, but Tampa Bay (4-6) hasn't look liked the same team so far this season because of an offense that's produced seven runs during a three-game slide.

Evan Longoria has missed two contests due to a death in the family, but the Rays have scored four runs or fewer in all but three games this season even with his team-best .441 average, five home runs and 12 RBIs in the lineup. Longoria is expected to return Friday.

Carlos Pena hit his fifth homer, a solo shot Thursday, but the Rays finished 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

"I think that we just didn't have that big hit," outfielder Gabe Kapler told the team's official Web site. "You don't capitalize, you lose games - especially against good pitching."

Pena has four homers and nine RBIs in his last five games as part of a nine-game hitting streak, but has struck out 14 times in 25 career at-bats against Colon - the most against an opposing pitcher.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 17, 2009

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