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White Sox-Blue Jays Preview

White Sox-Blue Jays Preview
The Chicago White Sox have had difficultly scoring this season and at Toronto in recent years. That's especially hurtful with the Blue Jays being so productive at the plate.

After getting yet another strong performance from their lineup, the Blue Jays look to win their eighth straight at home against the struggling White Sox as the teams continue a four-game series Saturday.

Toronto (24-14) leads the majors with 221 runs, helping it move to the top of the tough AL East. The Blue Jays had four players with at least two hits in the opener of this series, an 8-3 win on Friday night.

While Toronto came through at the plate again, it also continued its successful pitching during its seven-game home winning streak against Chicago. The Blue Jays have a 1.71 ERA and a .157 opponents' batting average during that stretch.

The White Sox's lineup has struggled all season, batting .251 and scoring 139 runs. They've lost nine of 12, plating one run or less five times.

"Offensively we're really, really bad right now," said Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen, who will miss the next two games to attend his son's college graduation. "We have to be better than that. How? It's my job to figure out how."

Chicago (15-19) will face rookie right-hander Robert Ray (0-1, 6.00 ERA), who is making his third career start. In his last outing, Ray gave up six runs - five earned - and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on May 7.

Ray, though, showed some poise after being hurt by some shaky defense, retiring 11 of 12 batters at one point.

A strong Blue Jays bullpen, meanwhile, has gotten even deeper with former closer B.J. Ryan being activated from the 15-day disabled list Thursday. Ryan, who had been out since April 23 with muscle tightness in his back and shoulder, finished Friday's game by striking out two in one scoreless inning.

Ryan is no longer Toronto's closer after going 1-0 with an 11.12 ERA and two blown saves in four chances before being put on the DL. Scott Downs has taken over that role, going 3 for 3 in save opportunities.

"We can use him, whether he gets back into his role or comes in there as the setup man," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said of Ryan, who rejoins a bullpen that has a 3.55 ERA.

Chicago's relievers have also been effective, posting a 3.47 ERA. The White Sox will need help from them if Bartolo Colon (2-3, 4.88) has an outing similar to his last performance.

The 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner surrendered five runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-1 loss to Texas on Sunday. The right-hander has allowed five runs in three of his six starts overall, and is 8-3 with a 3.80 ERA in 17 starts versus the Blue Jays.

White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye, meanwhile, has not been successful at Toronto in recent years, hitting .071 (2 for 28) with nine strikeouts in his last eight games there.

Dye, though, homered Thursday for his only hit in four at-bats. He will continue to play while he appeals a two-game suspension handed down by the league after throwing his helmet in a loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.

Dye is batting .282 with eight homers and 19 RBIs.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 16, 2009

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