Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 11:24 a.m.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been pitching well over the past week. Facing the slumping lineup of the Chicago White Sox hasn't hurt.
Wade Davis will try to extend the Rays' run of stellar starting pitching and help Tampa Bay reach the .500 mark Wednesday night when it continues its four-game home set against Chicago.
Tampa Bay (8-9) has won seven of eight and the first two of this series, including a 2-1 victory Tuesday.
One night after David Price gave up four hits in eight innings of a 5-0 win, James Shields threw a complete game, allowing four hits and striking out nine. Ben Zobrist scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth on Sean Rodriguez's triple.
"It was really fun to watch," manager Joe Maddon said of Shields. "He kept his tempo. He kept his pace. The quality of the locations was severe. On the money all night long. I could tell he was on right from jump street."
The Rays have a 2.10 ERA during their eight-game surge to the brink of the .500 mark. So far, Chicago's lineup is proving no match for Tampa Bay's arms.
Losers of six straight, the White Sox (7-10) have totaled five runs over their last four games. They're batting .195 in their last eight - a far cry from their .307 average during a 6-3 start.
Designated hitter Adam Dunn went 0 for 4 on Tuesday, and is 2 for 23 since missing six games due to an emergency appendectomy. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he might drop Dunn down in the lineup from his current third spot.
He's far from the only White Sox hitter struggling. Paul Konerko is 4 for 28 over his last seven games while Gordon Beckham is 1 for 29 in his last eight.
"It's a combination of both," Guillen said. "Shields pitched very well and we're not swinging the bat well. We're struggling right now at the plate, big time."
Davis (1-2, 3.26 ERA) will look to extend Chicago's struggles as he aims for his third consecutive strong outing.
The right-hander yielded one run and four hits in seven innings of a 5-2 win over Minnesota on Friday and went six innings against the White Sox on April 9, allowing two runs in a 4-2 defeat.
Phil Humber (1-1, 3.46), who is scheduled to pitch Wednesday for Chicago, opposed Davis in that start - his first with the White Sox in place of the injured Jake Peavy. He gave up one run in six innings to earn the victory.
The right-hander had more troubles in his last start, allowing four runs - two earned - and six hits in five innings of a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon (bruised left ring finger tip) and first baseman Dan Johnson (sore left forearm-wrist) both missed Tuesday's game, and are day to day.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.