Gritty victories are always nice, though sometimes they can be a bit annoying…especially when they come against a team that should have been handily dealt with. Sure, a win is a win is a win. Though a 7-5 win against the Astros in 11 innings, is a win with a punch to the gut. Frankly, the Rays should have won Thursday’s game by a score of 5-2. Peralta left a splitter up, a .150 hitter hammered it to right to tie the game in the eighth inning, and the Rays ultimately had to come back to win the game in extra innings. Hey, at least they won! You can read a blow by blow summary of the series finale against the Astros at our Tumblr page. Next on the docket: A three game set at home against the White Sox.
As with the previous series, the Rays should be able to take at least two-out-of-three from that other team from Chicago. At 34-48, the cellar dweller White Sox lost five straight before taking two of three from Baltimore. The toasty Rays have won 10 of their last 15, taking two of four from the Sox back in April.
Dylan Axelrod: Per Rotowire, “Axelrod allowed three earned runs over six innings and did not factor in the decision Saturday against the Indians.” To his credit, Axelrod pitched well in the series finale against the Rays in April, giving up three runs and four hits in six innings before the White Sox fell 8-3. Though he’s posted a 7.40 ERA over his last four outings, while opponents batted .358 against in June. Key match-ups: Yunel Escobar (1-2), Desmond Jennings (1-3, 2B, BB), Kelly Johnson (2-7, HR, 2 RBI), Matt Joyce (2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI), Luke Scott (1-1).
Chris Sale: Per Rotowire, “Sale gave up three earned runs on four hits and two walks while fanning 13 Mets in eight innings Tuesday.” Sale allowed two runs on four hits in a 5-2 win against Tampa Bay in April. Since then, the White Sox have gone 5-5 when Sale has been on the mound, though that’s of no consequence of the lefty; Sale is averaging 2.2 earned runs per outing. Simply put, the Sox have offered Sale little to no run support, averaging 2.8 runs per game when he’s on the mound. Key match-ups: Yunel Escobar (1-1), Kelly Johnson (2-6, 2 2B, RBI), Jose Lobaton (3-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Ben Zobrist (4-8, 2B, RBI).
John Danks: Per Rotowire, “Danks was pretty effective Tuesday, giving up two earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out four Orioles in seven innings to pick up his second win of the season.” The Rays are 2-1 against Danks over the last three years, tagging him for 15 earned runs in 15 innings of work. Key match-ups: Yunel Escobar (4-6, RBI), Sean Rodriguez (5-10, 2B, 2 3B, 3 RBI), Luke Scott (5-17, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB).
- Don’t look now, but James Loney is heating up once more. James Loney’s single extended his hitting streak to a career high-tying 15 games, during which he’s hitting .429. Loney has tallied a total of 24 hits in 56 at bats, with an OPS of .973. Loney has absolutely destroyed pitches in most parts of the zone (see below).
- Ugg, the Big Donkey is coming up big once more. Dunn is hitting .333 with 10 homers and 26 RBI over his last 23 contests.
- Rays starters have posted quality starts in nine of their last 10 games, while winning seven in that stretch.