The Tampa Bay Rays have already gotten off to their worst start in franchise history, now they’ll have to travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox in their home opener.
Given their recent matchups when facing Edwin Jackson, the Rays might have a difficult time earning their first win of the season and spoiling the White Sox’s home opener Thursday.
Tampa Bay has batted a miserable .136 and been outscored 22-7 during its 0-5 start. The Rays haven’t managed more than five hits in any game and have been held to one run in four contests.
One of those lowly performances was Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Angels. B.J. Upton hit his second homer in as many games, and manager Joe Maddon held Manny Ramirez out of the lineup after he started the season 1 for 16.
“How many games have we’ve played? We’ve got plenty of time,” said Ramirez, who will miss Thursday’s contest against his former team for personal reasons.
Without Ramirez, the Rays are hoping to bounce back at U.S. Cellular Field, where they had a combined 22 runs and 24 hits while winning the final two of a three-game series last April.
Tampa Bay, though, is scheduled to face Jackson (1-0, 3.00 ERA), who became the third pitcher to no-hit the Rays in less than a year on June 25 while with Arizona. The right-hander, who played for Tampa Bay from 2006-08, held on for a 1-0 victory despite walking eight batters and throwing 149 pitches – the most in a nine-inning game in five seasons.
In his only other previous matchup against Tampa Bay in 2009, Jackson allowed three runs and six hits over eight innings in a 5-3 win for Detroit.
Jackson enters this game after yielding three runs and striking out seven in an 8-3 win at Cleveland on Saturday. The White Sox (3-2) seemed to give him plenty of support after batting .314 and scoring 40 runs in their first five games.
They had 18 hits during Wednesday’s 10-7 win in 12 innings in Kansas City after slugger Adam Dunn underwent an emergency appendectomy Tuesday night. The designated hitter, who homered in his White Sox debut, is expected to miss at least five games.
Carlos Quentin had a go-ahead two-out double in the ninth inning before the Royals tied it, then hit another double to open the 12th. Quentin also had his second home run of the season during a four-hit afternoon.
The White Sox might not need Quentin’s or Dunn’s help against David Price (0-1, 5.14), who is 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA in three career matchups with Chicago. The left-hander struck out seven in Friday’s season opener against Baltimore, but allowed four runs over seven innings in a 4-1 defeat.
“I felt good. But when you’re going against another team’s No. 1 and give up four runs, you’re going to lose,” said Price, who was 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA and finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2010. “I’ve got to get better.”
After losing six of eight matchups with the White Sox in 2009, the Rays claimed last season’s series by a 4-3 margin.
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