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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : Series breakdowns

Chicago White Sox Vs. Tampa Bay

October 01, 2008|Kevin Baxter

* Keys to the series: The White Sox had to win what amounted to three sudden-death playoff games just to reach the playoffs so they figure to arrive in Florida exhausted, but exhilarated, and with little time to rest before Thursday's series opener. Waiting for them is a Tampa Bay team that before this year had never had so much as a winning season, much less a division championship season. The Rays don't hit much -- only Oakland, among AL teams, had a lower season average -- but their young pitching staff had the league's second-best ERA, 3.82, and their bullpen was second in the majors with 52 saves. Chicago led the majors in home runs with 234, and has a solid offense even without the injured Carlos Quentin. Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome -- whose solo homer won Tuesday's playoff with Minnesota -- both hit 34 homers this season, two fewer than Quentin. But the White Sox pitching, especially the rotation, was spotty down the stretch, one reason they had the worst record of any playoff team in September.

-- Kevin Baxter

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BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX

*--* PROJECTED LINEUP P WHITE SOX AVG HR RBI SS Cabrera 281 8 57 LF Wise 248 6 18 RF Dye 292 34 96 DH Thome 245 34 90 1B Konerko 240 22 62 CF Griffey Jr. 260 3 18 2B Ramirez 290 21 77 C Pierzynski 281 13 60 3B Uribe 247 7 40 *--*

*--* PROJECTED LINEUP P RAYS AVG HR RBI 2B Iwamura 274 6 48 CF Upton 273 9 67 1B Pena 247 31 102 3B Longoria 272 27 85 DH Floyd 268 11 39 LF Crawford 273 8 57 C Navarro 295 7 54 RF Gross 242 13 38 SS Bartlett 286 1 37 *--*

* Game 1: Thursday, 11:30 a.m.

Chicago (Javier Vazquez, 12-16, 3.79) at Tampa Bay (James Shields, 14-8, 3.56)

* Game 2: Friday, 3 p.m.

Chicago (Mark Buehrle, 15-12, 3.79) at Tampa Bay (Scott Kazmir, 12-8, 3.49)

* Game 3: Sunday, TBA

Tampa Bay (Matt Garza, 11-9, 3.70) at Chicago (Gavin Floyd, 17-8, 3.84)

* Game 4: Monday, TBA*

Tampa Bay (Andy Sonnanstine, 13-9, 4.38) at Chicago (John Danks, 11-9, 3.47)

* Game 5: Oct. 8, TBA*

Chicago (TBA) at Tampa Bay (Shields)

Best-of-five-series, all times Pacific

*if necessary

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