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News » White Sox-Rays Preview 2009-04-19

White Sox-Rays Preview 2009-04-19

White Sox-Rays Preview 2009-04-19
The Chicago White Sox struggled offensively on a season-opening six-game homestand, but are starting to swing the bats better on the road.

The White Sox hope that productivity continues Sunday when they try to capture a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Chicago (6-5) batted .232 and scored a total of 24 runs in its first six games at home. Getting away from the Windy City has seemingly helped the White Sox get untracked, with 26 runs and a .287 average in five road games.

The road has been especially kind to sluggers Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin.

Konerko is 9-for-20 (.450) with seven RBIs on the road, while Quentin is 7-for-20 (.350) with seven RBIs on the trip. Chicago used big nights from both hitters for an 8-3 victory Saturday.

Quentin went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Konerko was 3-for-5 and drove in three runs. Each player homered during a three-run fifth inning, with Quentin's his team-high sixth of the season.

"We hit homers. That's us when we're going good," Konerko said. "We had a lot of people on base, but we're not a team that manufactures runs like some others. We've got guys that can hit some home runs and you have to do that once in a while in the American League."

Chicago drew a season-high 10 walks and handed Tampa Bay (5-7) its fourth loss in five home games.

"It's just early," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We don't have everything going yet. We're going to be just fine."

White Sox slugger Jim Thome is expected to return to the lineup Sunday after he sat with Tampa Bay starting left-hander Scott Kazmir on Saturday.

Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria, meanwhile, extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games with a first-inning single Saturday. Longoria is hitting .429 (18-for-42) with five homers and 12 RBIs on the season.

Chicago starter Gavin Floyd (1-1, 6.00 ERA) will try to pitch better than he did in his last outing. Floyd gave up six runs over five innings Monday, but got credit for his first win, 10-6 at Detroit.

"Just really tried to keep our team in the ballgame," Floyd said. "Just one of those games I didn't feel great."

The right-hander has never faced the Rays in the regular season, but pitched against them in Game 4 of an AL division series last October. Floyd allowed four runs over three-plus innings in a 6-2 loss that ended the White Sox's season.

His counterpart on the mound will be Matt Garza (1-0, 1.93), who has turned in two solid seven-inning stints this year for Tampa Bay. Garza won his season debut by allowing one run in a 4-3 win at Boston on April 9, and yielded two runs Tuesday in a game the Rays eventually lost 7-2 to the New York Yankees.

The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA in three regular-season starts against the White Sox. Garza also lost to Chicago in Game 3 of last year's division series, allowing five runs over six innings.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 19, 2009

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