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Series Preview: 7/20-7/23 Tampa Bay Rays @ Chicago White Sox

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7/20: David Price vs. Gavin Floyd (8:11 SS)

7/21: Jeff Niemann vs. Clayton Richard (8:11 FSF)

7/22: James Shields vs. John Danks (8:11 SS)

7/23: Scott Kazmir vs. Mark Buehrle (2:05 FSF)

I hate to play the dramatic card, but this is potentially a big series for the Rays. The Yankees are hosting Baltimore for three. The match-ups there are David Hernandez/Andy Pettitte; Rich Hill/Sergio Mitre; and Jason Berken/A.J. Burnett. After that, they play host to Oakland, with Vin Mazzaro dueling with CC Sabathia. Best case scenario is probably the Yankees losing two of those four, more realistic is the Yankees win three.

Meanwhile, Boston is in Texas for three then plays the O's. Those probable pitchers are: John Smoltz/Kevin Milwood; Josh Beckett/Tommy Hunter; Tim Wakefield/Vincente Padilla; and Brad Bergesen/Brad Penny.  Again, I think you have to expect the Sox to take two or three of those games.

If the Rays luck out, they can be within two games of the Yankees heading into next week, in which they host the Yankees for three. Of course, this assumes the Rays don't falter against Toronto either. Roy Halladay pitched yesterday, and unless he's traded by the weekend, the Rays are likely to run into him yet again.

The Rays need to split this series. A series victory would be glorious, but just take two, any two, and we're on our way to a .500+ road trip.