Chicago (32-42) at Tampa Bay (33-43)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Thu Jun 28, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams threatened to make roster changes this past weekend if the team’s play didn’t improve.

For now, it seems Williams can hold off on those moves.

The White Sox (32-42) try to complete their first series sweep of the season Thursday, when they finish a four-game set with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (33-43).

Chicago came into this series having lost 22 of 27, and were swept in a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs over the weekend. The White Sox managed just two runs and 16 hits during that series, after which Williams said roster changes were imminent.

They have since won three straight, including 5-3 on Wednesday. The White Sox rallied for two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth to secure its first series win this month.

“We’ve played good the last couple days,” manager Ozzie Guillen said before the game. “We have to prove to Kenny and myself, we can make a run with this ballclub.”

Andy Gonzalez drove in his sixth RBI of the series, and Paul Konerko hit a two-run double to bring home the go-ahead run. Mark Buehrle, at the center of trade rumors earlier in the week, allowed three runs over seven innings.

Buehrle said his agent was in Tampa Bay, and it appears that the White Sox may now be making another attempt to get the pitcher to sign an extension.

“Until something happens, until I get that tap on the shoulder and they say: ‘You’ve been traded’ or ‘We’re going to sign you’ or ‘We’ll negotiate,’ it’s just all rumors to me,” Buehrle said.

Chicago is looking Thursday to win four straight for the first time since May 8-12, and record its first four-game sweep since a September 2005 set against the Detroit Tigers.

The White Sox will hand the ball to Javier Vazquez (3-5, 4.15 ERA) for the finale. Chicago has lost nine of the last 10 times Vazquez has started, although he’s coming off one of his better performances on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.

The right-hander allowed one run and five hits in seven innings of the 2-1 loss. Vazquez, who did not factor in the decision, matched a season high with eight strikeouts, with his only blemish coming on a first-inning homer.

Vazquez is 3-2 with a 5.14 ERA in eight career starts against Tampa Bay. He allowed five runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings on May 27 in an 11-5 loss.

Vazquez opposed Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.13) that game and will do so again to close out the series. Kazmir allowed four runs and eight hits while striking out seven for the win over Chicago.

He is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in two career starts against the White Sox.

The 23-year-old left-hander has not lost in his last four starts. He pitched six innings on Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing three runs and seven hits in a 4-3 win.

Kazmir has not won in his last 13 home starts, and is 0-2 with a 3.83 ERA in nine outings at Tropicana Field in 2007. He has not won there since throwing a two-hit shutout against Boston last July 3.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Vázquez Mia vs. S. Kazmir Oak
15-8 Record 13-9
3.74 ERA 3.48
213 K 239
50 BB 89
1.14 WHIP 1.38


Thursday, Jun 28