American League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 25th (All times eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (10-11) at Chicago White Sox (8-12), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 3.55) Chicago - Chris Sale (1-2, 4.50)
(Sports Network) - Mother Nature has wreaked havoc on the Chicago White Sox over the past week and they resume an abbreviated homestand Thursday in the opener of a four-game series versus the Tampa Bay Rays.
The White Sox had a game postponed their series with Minnesota and Cleveland, and just split a two-game set with the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field. After dropping a 3-2 decision to the Tribe on Tuesday, the second portion of the series was canceled due to inclement weather.
Chicago then came back with Wednesday's 3-2 win behind a decent outing from Jose Quintana, who tossed five innings of two-run ball. Four relievers kept the Indiana off the board the rest of the way with Addison Reed notching his sixth save in the ninth. Quintana entered the game with a 13 2/3 innings scoreless streak.
"He's been pitching great," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who is six wins shy of 100 as manager. "Up until that sixth inning, he just looked strong."
Alex Rios clubbed a two-run home run and Jeff Keppinger collected two hits and knocked in the other run for the White Sox, who halted a four-game losing streak and are 1-3 on what is now an eight-game homestand.
Chris Sale will make his fifth start of the season Thursday for the Pale Hose and hasn't won since Opening Day. The young left-hander was rocked for eight runs in 4 1/3 innings on April 13 at Cleveland, then allowed three runs -- two earned -- in seven innings of a 3-1 loss at Toronto last Thursday.
Sale is 1-2 with a 4.50 earned run average and 1-0 in two starts at home. He has faced Tampa Bay four times in his career (2 starts), going 1-1 with a save and a 4.85 ERA in 13 innings.
Tampa Bay will brave the elements when it opens a 10-game road trip against Chicago, Kansas City and Colorado, and is coming off a series win over the New York Yankees.
The Rays took two of three matchups with their AL East rivals, including Wednesday's 3-0 win -- the club's fifth shutout of the season. Alex Cobb held the Yankees in check with 8 1/3 scoreless innings, seven strikeouts and one walk. He scattered three hits before Fernando Rodney came on to get the final two outs for his third save.
"I felt really good out there tonight," Cobb said. "I knew throwing out my first bullpen (session) that I was going to have good fastball location. "When you have that mindset going into the first couple of innings, you get in kind of a groove and things just start to work."
Cobb is 10-2 since the beginning of last August.
Ben Zobrist hit a two-run double and Sean Rodriguez homered for Tampa Bay, which has won six of eight games and rebounded from Tuesday's 4-3 loss in the middle portion of the series.
Taking the mound for the Rays in the chilly South Side of Chicago will be Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson was on point in his previous start, a 1-0 win over Oakland on Saturday. He did not permit a runner past first base and hurled seven shutout innings with six K's and one walk.
Hellickson, who is 1-1 with a 3.55 earned run average in four starts, is 0-1 in two road assignments so far. The right-hander lost his only career start against the White Sox last Sept. 28 in a 3-1 setback.
The Rays lost four of seven matchups with the White Sox a year ago, dropping three of four at U.S. Cellular Field.
04/25 10:29:37 ET