For starters, Rays at White Sox, seeking eight
UPDATE, 7:11: The Angels also lost today, so the Rays take the field tonight with a chance to gain ground on everyone, and with their destinty now in their own hands if they can win out. They have the same number of losses as the Angels (70) and three fewer than the Orioles, whom they host next week in the final series.
UPDATE, 7:04: Maddon said he went with Lobaton at catcher again due to his solid outing Wednesday and the matchup with Peavy, but that Gimenez will get some time too. ... Jose Molina said his strained quad felt better today but he didn't sound optimistic about his availablity, as he planned to try to run a bit and simulate some catching movements. The cold weather is also an issue. ... Maddon spoke highly of Dan Johnson, the former Rays September hero now with the White Sox. ... There were many positive reviews for Wednesday's rookie dress-up and dance routine, with the general consensus that Desmond Jennings backflip was the highlight and that Chris Archer was the best-looking. "Scary,'' C Stephen Vogt said.
White Sox lineup:
De Aza cf
UPDATE, 4:55: Lobaton is behind the plate again tonight for the Rays and Scott is the DH.
Assuming they've stopped laughing about last night's rookie dress-up and dancing show, the Rays seek to extend their winning streak to a season-high eight tonight and keep alive their bid to get back in the playoffs when they face the White Sox at 8:10.
RHP James Shields will be on the mound for the Rays, opposed by Chicago's Jake Peavy.
While the Rays have been streaking, the White Sox, who led the Central for much of the summer, have been struggling, losing 7 of 8 to drop 1 1/2 games behind the Tigers, who already won today.
The Rays start the day 3 1/2 games behind the wild-card leading Orioles and 3 behind the A's for the second wild card.
The Rays were no-hit for four innings last night in Boston, then took the lead in the fifth on back-to-back homers by Carlos Pena and Ben Francisco.
Even though starter Alex Cobb lasted only five innings, Rays pitchers struck out 12, the MLB-record 58th time they were in double digits. The 2003 Cubs had 57.
The Rays didn't get in until around 3 am Chicago time, so it will be a late-unfolding afternoon here at U.S. Cellular Field.
The next win for the Rays will be Joe Maddon's 600th as manager, including his 19 as interim manager of the Angels.
Lineups when available.