Series Preview: Chicago White Sox

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The Rays look to continue building momentum heading toward the All-Star break while the White Sox are out to prove 2013 is not a lost season.

The Chicago White Sox have struggled in 2013 and come in to St.Petersburg with a record of 34-48 and in last place in the AL Central. They are an injured team as Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Paul Konerko, and Jesse Crain are all on the disabled list but this did not stop them from taking two out of three games this past weekend from the Baltimore Orioles.

Yesterday, after the Orioles tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the ninth but Adam Dunn hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the inning and in his excitement after the game said:

"I'm not writing this year off, don't know what everyone else is saying or thinking, but I'm not writing this year off yet. We're capable of running off some significant wins in a row. Hopefully this is the start of something good."

The White Sox are coming in to town at least energized by winning a series against one of the best teams in baseball and like the Rays are looking to build momentum leading up to the All-Star break.

The Rays will face right hander Dylan Axelrod and left handers Chris Sale and John Danks this weekend. They are 30-30 versus right handed pitchers and 15-10 versus left handed starters. They also hit LHP (.291/.352/.452) much better than RHP (.246/.320/.405).

The White Sox hit RHP (.250/.302/.387) slightly better than LHP (.230/.287/.354). The pitching match ups are as follows:

Friday 7:10 p.m. Jeremy Hellickson (7-3, 4.90 ERA) vs Dylan Axelrod (3-4, 4.57 ERA)

Sat 7:15 p.m.Matt Moore (11-3, 3.65 ERA)vs Chris Sale (5-7, 2.79 ERA)

Sun 1:40 p.m. David Price (2-4, 4.65 ERA) vs John Danks (2-5, 4.38 ERA)

The Offense:

The White Sox offense has been in the lower half of the American League this season. They have scored the fewest runs in the American League at 3.06, average the 3rd fewest runs per game at 3.76, hit the 3rd fewest HR (79), and have the second lowest OPS (.678).

Name G PA HR RBI SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Alejandro De Aza 79 350 10 40 10 7.70% 24.00% 0.258 0.314 0.411 0.315 93 0.3
Alexei Ramirez 82 345 1 17 19 3.20% 12.80% 0.279 0.306 0.347 0.285 72 1.3
Alex Rios 80 343 11 38 16 7.60% 16.60% 0.271 0.327 0.439 0.332 105 1.8
Adam Dunn 78 324 23 57 1 12.30% 29.60% 0.207 0.309 0.482 0.338 109 0.3
Paul Konerko 67 280 7 30 0 7.90% 15.70% 0.249 0.314 0.368 0.300 82 -1.2
Jeff Keppinger 65 260 2 23 0 3.80% 8.80% 0.250 0.277 0.302 0.255 51 -1
Conor Gillaspie 71 234 6 21 0 8.50% 19.70% 0.257 0.316 0.390 0.304 86 0.9
Dayan Viciedo 60 233 5 23 0 4.30% 20.60% 0.233 0.266 0.365 0.274 65 -1
Tyler Flowers 65 223 8 22 0 4.90% 31.40% 0.208 0.260 0.372 0.275 65 0.2
Gordon Beckham 35 129 1 9 3 3.90% 14.70% 0.322 0.352 0.413 0.335 106 0.3
DeWayne Wise 30 66 1 3 1 3.00% 21.20% 0.234 0.258 0.328 0.257 53 0.1
Casper Wells 21 40 0 1 0 7.50% 35.00% 0.189 0.250 0.216 0.216 25 -0.2
Brent Morel 3 10 0 0 1 10.00% 20.00% 0.222 0.300 0.222 0.246 45 0.1

The Bullpen:

The White Sox bullpen consists of 6 right handers and 1 left hander. Their pen holds the AL Lead with 19 losses, allow the 5th most inherited runners to score (29.6%), while having the 3rd highest ERA (4.17) and 2nd highest batting average against (.259).

Name G IP ERA FIP BB% AVG SV HLD K% BB% LOB%
Addison Reed 36 38 3.79 2.72 5.80% 0.207 22 0 26.50% 5.80% 64.30%
Brian Omogrosso 12 16.1 9.37 4.53 10.70% 0.378 0 0 19.10% 10.70% 56.80%
Hector Santiago 11 18.1 3.93 4.10 12.50% 0.250 0 0 18.80% 12.50% 72.50%
Jesse Crain 38 36.2 0.74 1.54 7.20% 0.221 0 19 30.30% 7.20% 86.10%
Matt Lindstrom 40 32.2 3.31 3.07 11.50% 0.268 0 9 17.30% 11.50% 71.40%
Matt Thornton 38 26.2 3.04 4.75 8.30% 0.235 0 17 18.40% 8.30% 81.00%
Nate Jones 36 43 4.40 2.83 9.10% 0.244 0 4 23.90% 9.10% 57.50%
Ramon Troncoso 8 9.2 6.52 5.44 17.00% 0.256 0 0 14.90% 17.00% 54.20%

The Starting Pitching:

Dylan Axelrod:

Made 5 starts in June without recording a decision and pitching to a 5.88 ERA (17 ER/28 IP). The opposition hit .358/.431/.642 against him including 8 home runs. His control was suspect as well striking out 15 while walking 14. He will be looking to put his struggles behind him and build off his last start against the Cleveland Indians on June 29th when he went 6 innings and only allowed 3R/ER on 6 hits.

Chris Sale:

The ACE of the White Sox staff is having another outstanding season but has fallen victim to the old no run support bug which is why he has a 5-7 record but an ERA of 2.79. In June he made 6 starts and went 0-5 with a 3.19 ERA. He held the opposition to a .215/.267/.304 slash line and struck out 53 batters while only walking 9 in 42.1 innings of work. His last start came on June 30th against the Cleveland Indians and he took the loss giving up 3R/ER in 8 innings of work but Justin Masterson shut the White Sox out en route to a 4-0 Indians win. Sale's last victory came on May 17th in a 3-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Angels.

John Danks:

Has only made 8 starts on the year as his start of the season was delayed due to recovery from shoulder surgery. Overall he has a record of 2-5 with a 4.38 ERA but he is coming off his best start of the season on July 2nd against the high powered Orioles offense. In that game he went 7 innings allowed just 6 hits, 2R/ER while striking out 4 and walking 1. He was very efficient in cutting through the Orioles lineup needing only 93 pitches to get through 7.

Danks is a reverse split pitcher and in 2013 left handed hitters are hitting him at a .293/.349/.569 clip (only 63 PA).

In his career LHB have an OPS against him of .750 while RHB have an OPS of .725. It will be interesting to see if the Rays lineup is loaded with LHB and if Lobaton/Zobrist are in the lineup if they hit LH as well.

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