Sox remember last meeting with Rays

Sox remember last meeting with Rays

CHICAGO -- The last series against Tampa Bay was a source of great frustration for White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

The South Siders lost the final three games of a four-game set at Tropicana Field to close out May, two of which were decided on walk-off homers.

Guillen's frustration boiled over in a pointed rant that may or may not have spurred the team to its ensuing seven-game winning streak.

This time around, the White Sox will be playing at U.S. Cellular Field with a skip in their step after going 8-1 during their previous three series, outscoring their opponents, 74-18.

"You attack [the series] the same way because we just got beat there," Paul Konerko said. "The energy was good, the effort was good, they were just hot at the time and have been hot all year. Hopefully we can return the favor when they get here.

"They're obviously not going anywhere; they've got great pitching and a lot of weapons on offense. You can only play so hard. We can go out and do the same things this weekend and come away with three wins. Down there, we just didn't get it done. That's baseball. You should play better at home, and hopefully that plays true this weekend."

One interesting storyline surrounding the series is the marked improvement of each team from 2007 to '08. The Rays and the White Sox own the two largest improvements in winning percentage in the Majors.

At this point last season, the Rays were 47-76 (.382), the worst winning percentage in baseball. As of Wednesday, they were tied with the Cubs for the best winning percentage in baseball at .616, a difference of .234.

The White Sox, who just surpassed their win total from last season with Wednesday's win against Seattle, have improved from 54-69 (.439) to 73-53 (.579), a difference of .137.

"We can match the 2007 wins with my kids on the field," Guillen said Wednesday. "That was not a good season."

After facing Tampa Bay, the White Sox will begin a nine-game road trip that includes the conclusion of an incomplete game against Baltimore that was suspended after 11 innings. Meanwhile, the second-place Twins begin a 14-game road trip Thursday that kicks off with a four-game series against the Angels.

And the White Sox will be keeping track.

"Yeah, it's getting to that time," Konerko said. "It's about that time of the year where you start looking at the scoreboard. You can't let it control what you do. You still gotta take care of your own business. We're inside 40 games and we're definitely scoreboard watching, no doubt about that."

Pitching matchup
CWS: LHP John Danks (10-5, 3.11 ERA)
In his last start, Danks truly battled to pick up the seventh victory over his last eight decisions. The left-hander threw 108 pitches in six innings, including an efficient eight-pitch sixth to end his afternoon in Oakland with a flourish. Danks gave up one run on six hits, but he also walked a career-high five and had to pitch out of two bases-loaded jams to avoid a setback. He has found great success in 2008 against Friday's opponent, posting a 2-0 record and a 0.69 ERA. Over 13 innings against the Rays, Danks has fanned 16 and walked one. He has a 4-4 record with a 3.67 ERA at home this year.

TB: RHP Edwin Jackson (9-8, 3.97 ERA)
Jackson pitched well on Saturday night against the Rangers, but he came away with his eighth loss of the season. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed just one run on five hits and three walks while striking out six in six innings. If Jackson is locating his 97-mph fastball, his other pitches can work well, particularly his slider. Jackson is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox.

Tidbits
Carlos Quentin has reached base 19 times in six games since missing two games with general soreness. He has 11 hits, including three home runs and two doubles. He has also walked seven times and been hit by a pitch. He has scored 10 times and driven in seven more. ... Alexei Ramirez has reached base safely in 15 consecutive games. ... Gavin Floyd is 3-0 with a 4.79 ERA in his last five starts.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• CSN Chicago

On radio
• WSCR 670, WRTO 1200 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: White Sox (Javier Vazquez, 10-10, 4.34) vs. Rays (Scott Kazmir, 9-6, 3.21), 2:55 p.m. CT
• Sunday: White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 11-10, 3.91) vs. Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 13-6, 4.37), 1:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: White Sox (Clayton Richard, 1-2, 6.75) vs. Orioles (Daniel Cabrera, 8-8, 4.98), 5:05 p.m. CT

David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.