The White Sox welcomed the Tampa Bay Rays to open the 2011 home slate. Under a cloudy sky and with temperatures dipping into the 40s, the Rays sought to shake off a miserable start to the season against former Tampa starter, Edwin Jackson.
The venue change didn’t help. Jackson obliterated the Rays on Thursday afternoon, and Ken “Hawk” Harrelson exhausted every possible way to say “He gone” as Jackson racked up strikeout after strikeout. He fanned 13 batters over eight innings, allowing four hits and a walk. The only negative to be seen on Jackson’s stat line from this game was the fact that he couldn’t control Sam Fuld. The former outfielder for the Chicago Cubs ran free and clear after reaching base. Fuld swiped three bases in the game (he went 1-for-3 with a walk).
B.J. Upton was the only starter not to strike out in this game. He produced two of the Rays’ six hits (two came against Sergio Santos in the ninth inning). Jackson left after the eighth inning. He worked hard, tossing 120 pitches, including 78 strikes.
David Price took the loss for the 0-6 Rays. He scattered nine hits over six innings and surrendered three earned runs, including a two-run double off of the bat of Alexis Rios in the first inning. Price struck out two batters and walked one.
Jackson’s effort was obviously huge statistically. In fact, it was much more important for the team on another level. The White Sox bullpen had been stretched in the brief two-game series against the Royals. Both games went into extra innings. The team had optioned Lastings Milledge prior to the game to call up bullpen help. They didn’t need it today.