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Series Preview: Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

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The Rays finally get to face some lefties! The bad news two of them are Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend the Rays offense will try to get on track against the left handed pitching heavy Chicago White Sox. Last season the Rays had the fourth best park adjusted offense against LHP with a .260/.324/.435, .327 wOBA, 110 wRC+ line. The Rays would post a 30-23 record against left handed starters.

The pitching match-ups

Friday: Chris Sale vs Jake Odorizzi

Saturday: John Danks vs TBA (Likely Bullpen Game)

Sunday: Jose Quintana vs Matt Moore

White Sox Starting Pitching vs RHH (last 3 seasons+):

Player IP K% BB% HR% AVE OBP SLG wOBA ERA FIP
Chris Sale 497.1 28.5% 5.3% 12.7% 0.231 0.283 0.376 0.290 3.31 3.19
Jose Quintana 461.1 20.4% 5.9% 7.9% 0.258 0.307 0.387 0.305 3.12 3.24
John Danks 381.2 16.4% 7.4% 11.7% 0.276 0.336 0.473 0.351 4.69 4.70

Chris Sale and Jose Quintana are quality lefties. Chris Sale is the best left handed pitcher in the American League and likely would be the best in MLB if Clayton Kershaw didn't exist. The first match-up will difficult for our cold right handed hitters who have been riding the bench. The Rays will have a better chance than most, but Sale still has the potential to shut down any lineup if he's on.

The game on Saturday is the best chance for the Rays offense to get healthy against a weak left handed starter in John Danks.

On Sunday we will face off an underrated LHP, Jose Quintana, who ranks eighth in fWAR since the 2013 season at 13.9. His strikeout rate isn't high, but he is able to limit walks and home runs.

White Sox Relievers vs RHH (last 3 seasons+):

Player IP K% BB% HR% AVE OBP SLG wOBA ERA FIP
David Robertson 95.1 30.8% 5.6% 19.0% 0.228 0.281 0.412 0.302 3.78 3.59
Zach Duke 88.1 20.5% 9.2% 15.6% 0.249 0.330 0.406 0.318 3.67 4.14
Nate Jones 58.2 28.8% 7.3% 10.8% 0.242 0.303 0.336 0.286 3.53 2.60
Matt Albers 66.2 19.9% 5.6% 8.8% 0.214 0.269 0.287 0.249 2.30 2.90
Zach Putnam 56.0 29.0% 10.1% 11.1% 0.212 0.304 0.313 0.277 2.89 3.27
Dan Jennings 76.1 20.9% 10.3% 11.1% 0.233 0.316 0.368 0.293 3.42 3.68
Jake Petricka 97.2 18.1% 10.2% 7.3% 0.231 0.316 0.294 0.279 2.03 3.36

David Robertson, former setup man for the New York Yankees, is one of the most reliable closers in MLB. He has wide reverse splits as he has allowed a .206 wOBA against LHH.

Zach Duke and Dan Jennings are their lefties in the bullpen, but they do a reasonable job against right handed hitters.

The White Sox relievers feature pitchers who are adept at limiting damage versus right handed hitters. This would make sense as they have a rotation that features four left handed starters.

White Sox Batters (last 3 seasons+):

Player PA HR SB BB% K% AVE OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Jose Abreu 1329 68 3 7.1% 21.2% 0.303 0.366 0.539 0.385 147
Adam Eaton 1540 18 38 7.8% 17.2% 0.288 0.355 0.410 0.338 113
Todd Frazier 1977 85 40 7.5% 20.6% 0.253 0.318 0.455 0.336 111
Melky Cabrera 1713 31 11 6.4% 11.9% 0.286 0.330 0.409 0.323 104
Dioner Navarro 994 30 3 7.2% 14.6% 0.272 0.324 0.411 0.323 104
Brett Lawrie 1362 39 14 5.5% 19.8% 0.256 0.305 0.404 0.310 96
Austin Jackson 1823 25 46 7.1% 22.1% 0.264 0.318 0.380 0.309 95
Alex Avila 1074 26 0 13.7% 31.1% 0.215 0.325 0.348 0.305 91
Avisail Garcia 1079 29 14 5.7% 23.4% 0.260 0.308 0.390 0.305 91
Jimmy Rollins 1869 37 62 9.0% 15.1% 0.240 0.308 0.366 0.298 88
Jerry Sands 161 6 0 5.6% 28.0% 0.227 0.273 0.393 0.290 83
J.B. Shuck 768 4 17 6.1% 10.9% 0.260 0.305 0.333 0.283 79
Tyler Saladino 262 4 8 4.6% 19.8% 0.230 0.270 0.337 0.266 63

Over the offseason the White Sox looked to revamp an offense that underwhelmed last year while compiling a .250/.306/.380, .300 wOBA, 86 wRC+ line. They acquired Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie via trade and Jimmy Rollins, Austin Jackson, Dioner Navarro, and Alex Avila via free agency.

This group has not yet stepped up, however, as the White Sox offense have posted a .241/.296/.355, .288 wOBA, 84 wRC+ line.

The Rays need to avoid giving Jose Abreu the opportunity to beat them. Todd Frazier adds some home runs to this offense.

Time to RaysUp!

While the match-ups aren't ideal, the Rays have an opportunity to shake things up as they have only faced one left handed starter through their nine games this season. These three games are an opportunity for the Rays to try something different offensively.

The Rays will need big games from Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore in order to give the offense a chance against their two best pitchers.

The series will likely feature two low scoring games surrounding a potential shootout on Saturday evening.