One week ago, the Tampa Bay Rays were leaving Chicago in the midst of a horrible slide. They'd just lost three out of four games to the Sox, narrowly avoiding a sweep thanks to a few timely ninth inning errors by the Sox on Saturday. They were 1-8, their offense was nonexistent, Manny Ramirez had suddenly retired, and they were entering a tough series against the Boston Red Sox. Not to be melodramatic, but it was one bleak Monday mornings for Rays fans.
And now, one week later, the Rays have breathed life into their season. They went 5-1 last week, sweeping Boston in a two-game series and taking three out of four from the Twins, and they're only 3.5 games behind the Yankees for the division lead. The White Sox are now coming to St. Petersburg, and the Rays get a chance to redeem themselves.
Monday night's game features a rematch from earlier this season: David Price (3.92 ERA, 3.69 FIP) versus Edwin Jackson (2.89 ERA, 2.31 FIP). Price has not been his dominating self in his three starts this season, only striking out 12 batters in 20 innings pitched, but he's still generating plenty of swinging strikes (10.8% whiff rate) so his results should improve going forward. He allowed nine hits in six innings last time against the White Sox while only striking out two.
The last time the Rays faced Edwin Jackson, they had a miserable offensive game, managing only four hits against him while striking out 13 times. Jackson pounded the zone against the Rays, getting ahead in counts and punching them out with his slider. If the Rays are going to have a better showing against Jackson, they'll need to be aggressive on pitches over the plate and look for his slider late in counts.
Tonight's game kicks off at 6:40 PM.
For more coverage of the Rays, follow SB Nation's blog on the Tampa Bay Rays, DRaysBay.