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Series Preview: Chicago White Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays

First three games are 7:10 PM starts; the Sunday game is a 1:40 PM start. 

Thursday, May 27: RHP Gavin Floyd vs. RHP Jeff Niemann

Friday, May 28: RHP Freddy Garcia vs. LHP David Price

Saturday, May 29: LHP John Danks vs. RHP Wade Davis

Sunday, May 30: TBA vs. RHP James Shields

We discussed the White Sox the last time we faced them, and not much has changed since then - they're a middle-of-the-road team playing like a middle-of-the-road team. Some of their hitters are performing, like Alex Rios (.408 wOBA), Paul Konerko (.401 wOBA), and the revitalized (?) Andruw Jones (.386 wOBA), but the drop-off is steep after those few. Carlos Quentin (.305 wOBA), Alexei Ramirez (.277 wOBA), and Gordon Beckham (.249 wOBA) were expected to be key contributors and have stunk up the joint so far, making their line-up underwhelming so far this season.

With an offense that is so-so, the Sox need their pitching to carry the team if they want to stay competitive with the Twins. So far, though, their pitching has been...wait for it....middle-of-the-road. John Danks (3.04 FIP), Gavin Floyd (3.67 FIP), and Mark Buehrle (4.32 FIP) have all been great, and lucky us, we get to face two of those three starters this series! We do also face Freddy Garcia, though, who's been absolutely horrendous (5.88 FIP) this year, so that's nice at least.

For the record, we don't want to have to get runs off their bullpen. The Sox have some excellent arms in their pen, including Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos, J.J. Putz, and Scott Linebrink. Yes, Putz and Linebrink have actually been good this year; I'm surprised as much as you are.

The White Sox aren't going to be easy to beat, especially with the way the Rays' offense is hitting at the moment. The Rays could really use big outings from Niemann and Price to get the Rays back on the right track, so let's see if the Big Nyquil can lull the Sox to sleep tonight.