The Chicago White Sox hope Hernandez can help them avoid a sweep when he takes the mound for the finale of their three-game series at Tropicana Field.
The White Sox still have the best record in baseball despite dropping two straight to the lowly Devil Rays.
Hernandez has been terrific for Chicago so far, going 4-1 with a 2.92 ERA in six starts.
The Cuban right-hander signed a contract with the White Sox after pitching 5 1/2 seasons with the New York Yankees and spending 2003 on the disabled list with the Montreal Expos. Hernandez dazzled the Devil Rays while with the Yankees, going 10-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 16 appearances, including 15 starts.
The 35-year-old right-hander should pay particular attention to the bottom of Tampa’s batting order Wednesday.
Jorge Cantu homered with one out in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday to give the last-place Devil Rays a 7-6 victory.
“The baseball is not bouncing our way right now. Hopefully that will change,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said after watching his pitchers give up three walks, five hits and seven RBIs to the bottom three hitters in Tampa Bay’s lineup.
“That’s going to happen to the best teams in baseball,” Guillen added. “Don’t think we’re that good.”
The Devil Rays rallied twice to tie the game before Cantu hit a walk-off homer on a 1-0 pitch from Shingo Takatsu.
“Their team can hit,” Guillen said. “If you keep those kids in the game, they’re going to come back.”
Cantu’s 402-foot shot into the stands in left was the major league-high ninth homer by the ninth spot in the Devil Rays’ order. He went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, boosting the team’s average in that spot to .367.
“I was just up there hacking,” said Cantu, who leads the Devil Rays with five home runs.