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Series Preview: Rays take on White Sox in Windy City

Frigid Arctic Blast Sends Chicago Temperatures Into Single Digits Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays showed ‘em in the Show Me state, winning series from the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. The Rays have won seven of their past ten. The road trip ends with a three game set against the Chicago White Sox.

The Chicago White Sox are coming off getting swept by the hands by the Minnesota Twins.

The Matchups:

Friday 8:10 PM: Blake Snell vs Reynaldo Lopez
Saturday 7:10 PM: Chris Archer vs Carlos Rodon
Sunday 2:10 PM: Matt Andriese vs Lucas Giolito

Rays take on the White Sox young arms.

Reynaldo Lopez makes his third start in the majors this year. Lopez and Sunday’s starter Lucas Giolito came to the White Sox in the Adam Eaton trade with the Washington Nationals. In 10.2 innings Lopez has struck out 12 and walked seven. His primary offering is a 95 mph fastball. Changeups and curveballs are his secondary weapons of choice. In his last start he allowed six runs in 4.1 innings to the Texas Rangers.

Carlos Rodon was the third overall pick in the 2014 draft and moved quickly to the majors, spending less than a year in the minors. The left hander has a 4.27 ERA and 4.74 FIP in 11 starts. He has struck out a career high 25.7% of batters while walking 10.0%. Right handed batters have been quite successful with a .239/.336/.460 line and .342 wOBA. In his last start he allowed five runs in five innings to the Detroit Tigers.

Lucas Giolito will make his third start of the season in the majors. In 13 innings he has struck out eight and walked three. He has allowed three homers, but has been fortunate to only allow four runs. Giolito has a 93 mph fastball and throws a changeup, slider, and curve. In his last start he held the Tigers scoreless for seven innings.

Who is left in the White Sox bullpen?

Before the trade deadline the White Sox dealt a full bullpen. They shipped David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees. Anthony Swarzak was shipped to the Milwaukee Brewers. Dan Jennings was sent to the Rays. Tyler Clippard was recently sent to the Houston Astros.

Former Ray Danny Farquhar might be the most experienced bullpen arm remaining. He has thrown 4.2 innings with the White Sox.

Juan Minaya has a 4.67 ERA and 4.69 FIP. He has a 28.8% strikeout rate and 12.3% walk rate. He has assumed the closer’s role after the trade of Tyler Clippard.

With the calendar turning to September bullpen workloads have less importance. None of the relievers have thrown in two straight games.

The White Sox offense is very young and raw

At the trade deadline the White Sox traded Melky Cabrera to the Kansas City Royals and Todd Frazier to the New York Yankees. Jose Abreu is the remaining veteran among position players.

Jose Abreu has had a bounce back offensive season hitting .301/.355/.537 and putting up a 135 wRC+. He has hit 26 home runs. Abreu was out of the lineup yesterday due to a sore elbow and is listed as day to day.

Avisail Garcia has been one of the bright spots offensively. After a couple years of struggle he has broken out in 2017 by hitting .324/.372/.491. Garcia has hit 13 homers.

Nick Delmonico has had a hot start to his major league career posting a 170 wRC+ and hitting six homers in his first 91 plate appearances.

Matt Davidson is their other power threat. In 345 plate appearances he has hit 23 homers and posted a 100 wRC+.

The Rays need to take advantage of the opportunity in front of them

Calling series and games “must win” starts to sound meaningless when you say it before every series, but that’s where the Rays are right now. These three games will be their last against a team not in contention. They should have some strong advantages with these match-ups and need to pounce. After Chicago every opponent the Rays face in the final 24 games of the season is currently ahead of them in the playoff race. They will have a great opportunity to control their own playoff fate, but they must first come out with a few wins in Chicago.