Chicago (10-6) at Tampa Bay (7-10)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Sat Apr 19, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Chicago White Sox starter Mark Buehrle might be off to a frustrating start in 2008, but opposing the Tampa Bay Rays could help him.

Buehrle looks to extend his success against the Rays and help the White Sox to their sixth win in eight games when the teams continue their three-game series on Saturday at Tropicana Field.

Buehrle (1-1, 5.74 ERA) started on opening day for the White Sox (10-6) but endured a terrible outing, giving up seven runs and seven hits - two homers - in just 1 2/3 innings of a 10-8 loss at Cleveland.

The left-hander has pitched better in his last two starts, including Monday against Oakland. He yielded two runs and scattered nine hits in seven innings, but took a hard-luck 2-1 loss.

Buehrle, however, has hardly struggled against the Rays (7-10), going 6-1 with a 4.13 ERA in 12 career appearances, including seven starts. The majority of those victories have come in Tampa Bay, where he is 5-1 with a 4.45 ERA.

The White Sox, who had suffered a 6-5 loss in 10 innings Thursday at Baltimore, bounced back for a 9-2 victory over the Rays in Friday’s series opener.

“This is special,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We have a special thing going on. I think the way we lost last night, and the way we traveled here, getting here late at night, it’s a good sign. It’s a great sign.”

Jim Thome hit his 511th career homer, and Paul Konerko also went deep to help Chicago improve to 7-1 versus the Rays since the start of last season. The White Sox have also won five straight at Tropicana Field.

On Friday, the Rays were limited to seven hits after totaling at least 10 in their previous four games.

Tampa Bay rookie third baseman Evan Longoria, who earlier Friday agreed to a $17.5 million, six-year contract that could be worth up to $44.5 million over nine seasons, went 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a walk, increasing his batting average to .304 and his on-base percentage to .429.

The Rays, who have dropped four of five overall, will be trying to avoid their first four-game home skid since a five-game slide from June 25-July 12.

The odds might not be in their favor with struggling Andy Sonnanstine (1-1, 8.80) on the mound. Opponents are batting .328 and slugging .672 against the right-hander.

Sonnanstine gave up seven runs and nine hits - three homers - in just 3 1-3 innings of Monday’s 8-7 loss to the New York Yankees, although he escaped without a decision.

Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Pena sat out Friday’s game due to right hamstring tightness, but could return as the designated hitter on Saturday.

The Rays also received positive news about injured staff ace Scott Kazmir, who is on target to return on May 3. The left-hander has not pitched this season because of a strain in his throwing elbow.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Buehrle Tor vs. A. Sonnanstine ChC
15-12 Record 13-9
3.79 ERA 4.38
140 K 124
52 BB 37
1.34 WHIP 1.29


Saturday, Apr 19