Considering how well the White Sox are producing lately, scoring doesn’t appear as if it will be a problem this time.
Chicago aims to continue its surge at the plate, and extend its overall winning streak to six games on Friday night when it meets the AL East-leading Rays in the start of series between teams with playoff aspirations.
The White Sox (73-53) had won eight of nine versus the Rays (77-49) ahead of their four-game matchup from May 29-June 1. Chicago opened that series with a 5-1 victory, but totaled three runs while losing the next three contests.
After that, the White Sox scored 61 runs en route to sweeping a seven-game homestand against Kansas City and Minnesota. They have been propelled by a similar surge lately as they’ve won eight of nine, scoring 48 times over the last five victories.
Chicago completed a three-game sweep of Seattle with a 15-3 rout on Wednesday. The White Sox pounded out 10 homers in the series, boosting their major league-leading total to 188. Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 609th homer to tie Sammy Sosa for fifth on the all-time list, and Alexei Ramirez and A.J. Pierzynski each had three-run shots for the White Sox.
Ramirez, a rookie who’s hitting .345 (10-for-29) with four homers and 13 RBIs over his last seven games, told the White Sox’s official Web site that he’s never been part of a surge like this before.
“I’ve never been on a team that has hit like this, been on this kind of stretch,” he said. “We have some great hitters on this team.”
Chicago has won six straight and 12 of 15 at US Cellular Field to improve to 45-19 at home. But the White Sox are 9-14 this season against the AL East, and Friday’s contest begins a nine-game stretch against that division.
Ozzie Guillen’s club first will face Tampa Bay’s Edwin Jackson (9-8, 3.97 ERA), who lost for the first time in five starts on Saturday. The right-hander held Texas to one run and five hits with six strikeouts over six innings of a 3-0 road defeat.
Jackson is looking for his first career win in four tries versus the White Sox. He is 0-2 with an 8.71 ERA in two starts against them this year.
He takes the mound after the Rays failed to complete a three-game sweep of the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday following a 5-4 home defeat.
“You’re going to lose some tough ones, but what really matters is what you do after that,” manager Joe Maddon said of the Rays, who have a 4 1/2-game lead over Boston in the division.
Maddon’s club hopes to win for the eighth time in 10 road games, but is just 13-24 all-time in Chicago.
Tampa Bay also hasn’t fared well versus John Danks (10-5, 3.11), who has won all three career starts against the Rays while posting a 2.50 ERA. Opposing Jackson in May, Danks gave up one run and six hits with eight strikeouts in six innings.
The left-hander is 7-1 with a 3.18 ERA in his last 15 starts. Danks walked a career-high five, but gave up just one run and six hits over six innings in a 2-1 victory at Oakland on Saturday.