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Rays-White Sox Preview

Jul 21, 2009 - 4:40 AM By MATT BROWN STATS Editor

Tampa Bay (51-41) at Chicago (47-44), 8:11 p.m. EDT

With a rookie starting pitcher on the mound, the Tampa Bay Rays saw their three-game winning streak snapped. On Tuesday night, a less-heralded rookie could give them a great shot at starting another run.

Jeff Niemann seeks to continue his stellar recent work Tuesday night when he takes the ball for the Rays in the second of four games at the Chicago White Sox.

The Rays (51-42) opened their second half with a three-game weekend sweep in Kansas City, but failed to extend their win streak to four Monday night with a 4-3 loss in the opener of this series. David Price, the 2007 first-round draft choice who dominated Boston in last October's AL championship series, took the loss after allowing four runs in six innings.

Niemann (8-4, 3.73 ERA) doesn't come with Price's pedigree - he's a 26-year-old rookie who didn't win a rotation spot until the end of spring training - but for the last two months he's pitched like an ace. The right-hander has gone 6-1 with a 2.55 ERA in his last 10 starts, nine of them Rays victories, to pull into a tie with Detroit's Rick Porcello for the major league wins lead among rookies.

"It's good, but it's only halfway through," Niemann, who limited the White Sox to two runs in six innings April 16 but was charged with a 3-2 loss, said of his impressive season. "We have another three months left, so you can't get too happy or contented."

This will be Niemann's first start since July 10, when he pitched a seven-hitter in a 6-0 victory over Oakland. With that effort, he joined All-Stars Josh Beckett and Zack Greinke as the only AL pitchers with two shutouts this season.

"He's probably pitching his best professional baseball right now, including all of his minor league stuff," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He's just gaining confidence. He was in total command."

The same cannot be said these days of White Sox rookie Clayton Richard (3-3, 5.42), whose hold on a rotation spot appears tenuous. The left-hander has allowed four runs or more in each of his last five starts, while pitching through the fifth inning in only one of those outings.

Richard endured the shortest and worst start of his career in his last outing July 9, surrendering six runs, four hits and three walks in one inning of a 10-8 home loss to Cleveland. He did pitch 3 1-3 scoreless innings of relief against the Rays over two appearances in April.

Chicago (48-44) earned its third win in four games since the All-Star break - and 13th out of 19 overall - Monday, as Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer off Price in the third inning and closer Bobby Jenks escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth by striking out Jason Bartlett.

The White Sox activated left fielder Carlos Quentin before the game, and he went 1 for 4 in his first action since May 25. Quentin, who had 36 homers and 100 RBIs last year in his first season with Chicago, had been on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

His return may have come just at the right time for the White Sox, who Monday began a stretch of 18 consecutive games against opponents with winning records.

"We do have a tough stretch in front of us, but it'll be a good measuring stick for us to find out how good we really are," said White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik, who went 3 for 3 with two doubles and a stolen base Monday - his second three-hit effort in four games since the break.






  • 45
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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Rays 3, White Sox 2  FinalJul 23 6:57 AM


  • ** CONFIRMED **
    AL
    TAMPA BAY 3
    CHI WHITE SOX 2 FINAL

    Jul 21 10:47 PM
  • 40
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    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Rays 3, White Sox 2  Bot 9, 0 OutsJul 21 10:36 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY CARLOS PENA SCORED EVAN LONGORIA
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, P BURRELL ON FIRST, B ZOBRIST ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3
    CHI WHITE SOX 2 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: G KAPLER (.259, 1-FOR-3)

    Rays 3, White Sox 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 21 10:25 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Rays 3, White Sox 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 21 10:25 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO PAT BURRELL SCORED JASON BARTLETT
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, P BURRELL ON FIRST, B ZOBRIST ON SECOND, E
    LONGORIA ON THIRD, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2
    CHI WHITE SOX 2 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.224, 24 HR, 59 RBI)

    Rays 2, White Sox 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 21 10:24 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Rays 2, White Sox 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 21 10:24 PM
  • 35
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    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Rays 1, White Sox 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 21 9:47 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY SCOTT PODSEDNIK SCORED CHRIS GETZ
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, G BECKHAM ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1
    CHI WHITE SOX 2 BOTTOM,5TH
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: A RAMIREZ (.277, 1-FOR-2)

    Rays 1, White Sox 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 21 9:26 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY GORDON BECKHAM SCORED A.J. PIERZYNSKI
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G BECKHAM ON SECOND, C GETZ ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1
    CHI WHITE SOX 1 BOTTOM,5TH
    DUE UP FOR CHI WHITE SOX: S PODSEDNIK (.305, 0-FOR-2)

    Rays 1, White Sox 1  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 21 9:25 PM


  • AL
    AT CHI WHITE SOX - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY EVAN LONGORIA SCORED DIONER NAVARRO
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J BARTLETT ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1
    CHI WHITE SOX 0 TOP,3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B ZOBRIST (.303, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 1, White Sox 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 21 8:49 PM