TV: FOX Sports Sun
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CHICAGO -- The Tampa Bay Rays will play several teams in playoff contention during the final month of the season. The Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs all loom on the schedule.
But before then, the Rays (68-68) have to complete a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox, who are an American League-worst 52-81.
The Rays aren't planning to coast through this weekend. After winning the series opener 3-1 on Friday night to stand 3 1/2 games back in the AL wild-card race, Tampa Bay will play the middle game of the series against Chicago Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
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"We need to play good here," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said Friday. "This team, I know what their record is. We've been in a similar situation. It's a young team. Guys are getting opportunities to play, and generally when they get those opportunities you see a team kind of come together and they're hungry to do good things.
"We've got to play our best baseball for these next three days."
Right-hander Chris Archer (9-7, 3.66 ERA) will take the mound Saturday for Tampa Bay. He held St. Louis to one run and five hits in seven innings in his last outing. He is 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA in seven career appearances, including six starts, against the White Sox. In four appearances at Guaranteed Rate Field, he is 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA.
"I'm starting to trust (my changeup) more, especially against left-handed hitters, and I'm sprinkling it in against righties," Archer said after his last start.
For the White Sox, left-hander Carlos Rodon (2-5, 4.27) will start. He went 1-1 with a 3.41 ERA in five August starts, giving up five runs in five innings against Detroit in his most recent outing, his shortest appearance since July 25.
"Today wasn't very good," Rodon said after his last start. "They hit the ball well and made me pay on some pitches I missed on."
Rodon is 0-0 with a 7.71 ERA in one career outing against Tampa Bay.
The White Sox and Tampa Bay each added three players on Friday as rosters expanded. The Rays recalled catcher Curt Casali, right-hander Ryne Stanek and left-hander Adam Kolarek from Triple-A Durham. Cash hinted the Rays may add more soon.
"It's fair to say we're going to have another wave probably come through here in the next couple days," Cash said. "A lot depends on how we get through tonight, how we get through the next day and what's needed."
Chicago activated right-hander Reynaldo Lopez from the 10-day disabled list, recalled right-hander Carson Fulmer from Triple-A Charlotte and purchased the contract of left-hander David Holmberg from Charlotte on Friday.
The White Sox might add another player or two after the Triple-A and Double-A seasons end, general manager Rick Hahn said. Yet the rebuilding team has had an influx of youth this season.
"We've kind of been having that infusion over the last six, eight weeks already," Hahn said. "We've had our Sept. 1 expansion already."