TAMPA BAY (AP) — A lot has changed for both the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays in the week since the two teams squared off in a series in Chicago.
The Rays look to win for the sixth time in seven games and hand the slumping White Sox their sixth defeat in seven contests when they open a four-game series at Tropicana Field on Monday night.
Chicago (7-8) took three of four from Tampa Bay (6-9) at U.S. Cellular Field from April 7-10, part of a 6-3 start to the season. The White Sox hit .295 while plating 22 runs, as Paul Konerko went 7 for 14 with a pair of solo homers and four RBIs.
Chicago’s offense hasn’t had much success since the Rays left town, batting .212 and totaling 18 runs while dropping five of six.
“It seems like we were all hot at one time and now we’re all slumping at the same time,” designated hitter Adam Dunn said following Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. “We have to get back on track.”
Dunn has been in the middle of the team’s struggles, batting .105 with a homer and 11 strikeouts in 19 at-bats in five games since having his appendix removed.
“I don’t feel bad. I feel fine, I just stink,” Dunn said. “We’re not in any panic mode. We know what we’re capable of doing.”
The Rays’ record was 1-8 after their series against the White Sox, but they won five straight immediately after leaving Chicago, totaling 32 runs in those games. The winning streak ended Sunday with a 4-2 loss to Minnesota.
Johnny Damon was instrumental for the Rays, driving in the winning run in all five games of the streak while batting .348 with two homers and 10 total RBIs, but he left Sunday’s game with a bruise on the tip of his left ring finger. He’s listed as day-to-day.
“It’s very sore,” Damon said. “I wanted to try and tough out the game, but thought it was best if I came in and started icing it. At this point, I can’t guarantee anything on whether or not I’ll be in there (Monday). Time will tell.”
Damon is batting .190 lifetime against Edwin Jackson (2-0, 2.89 ERA), Chicago’s scheduled starter.
Jackson pitched brilliantly against the Rays on April 7, allowing one run and four hits while striking out a career-high 13 and walking one in eight innings of a 5-1 win. The right-hander, who pitched for Tampa Bay from 2006-08, has posted a 1.44 ERA while winning all three career starts against his former team.
Probable Tampa Bay starter David Price (1-2, 3.92) has had no such luck against Chicago.
Price, who opposed Jackson at U.S. Cellular Field less than two weeks ago, yielded three runs and nine hits in six innings. He has lost all four of his starts against the White Sox, with a 4.88 ERA.
Chicago center fielder Alex Rios has given Price the biggest problems. He doubled twice off Price earlier this month, and is 7 for 11 with two homers lifetime in their matchups.
Price, a 19-game winner last season, earned his first victory of 2011 on Tuesday, allowing two runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings of 3-2 win at Boston. He finally got a little help, as his offense had failed backed him with any runs of support in his first two outings.
Following his gem against the Rays, Jackson was shaky versus Oakland on Tuesday. He allowed three runs and seven hits and needed 100 pitches to go 4 2-3 innings, although the White Sox eventually won 6-5 in 10.
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