All games are 6:40 PM starts. Does anyone like these new start times? I don't see how they do anything except make it even harder for fans to get to the games.
Monday, April 18: Edwin Jackson (2.31 FIP) vs. David Price (3.69 FIP)
Tuesday, April 19: John Danks (4.21 FIP) vs. James Shields (4.78 FIP)
Wednesday, April 20: Philip Humber (2.98 FIP) vs. Wade Davis (3.32 FIP)
Thursday, April 21: Gavin Floyd (4.11 FIP) vs. Jeff Niemann (5.74 FIP)
This series is an exact pitching rematch of the atrocious Chicago series from a week and a half ago. I'm trying to forget that series ever happened - except for the Sam Fuld catch, of course - and thankfully for the Rays, things might go better this time around. The Rays' offense is finally starting to show some life, and the White Sox have been in a skid ever since the Rays left town; they've gone 1-5 over that time, getting swept by the Angels this past weekend and losing a series to the Athletics before that.
The big key for the Rays this series is keeping their offense rolling. The last time the Rays faced the White Sox, they mustered a total of four runs in their three losses, and their lone win was helped along by some timely Sox errors in the ninth inning. The Rays were flummoxed by all of the Sox's starters, even career minor-leaguer Phillip Humber, and they struck out a total of 13 times against Edwin Jackson. With tonight's game, the Rays need to be more aggressive hitting the ball when Jackson tries to blow one down the middle, and they should watch out for his slider late in the count.
David Price will need to pitch better tonight than he did last time against the White Sox, when he only struck out two batters while allowing nine hits in six innings. The Sox do have a strong offense, and Adam Dunn is back in their daily lineup after recovering from his appendectomy. Their overall offense has cooled off over the last week - they only have a .330 team wOBA at the moment - but their power is still one of the best in the majors (.153 ISO).
This isn't going to be an easy series for the Rays and they're going to need all the offense they can get. Here's hoping Johnny Damon's bruised finger heals up quickly.