Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

MLB 2017 Game #10: Rays vs. White Sox

I relentlessly pursue baseball goals. I have attended games at 40 different major league parks throughout the years. When the World Series returned to Wrigley Field for the first time since 1945, I was there watching from behind home plate. I have even visited the graves of men who had a mythical or legendary influence on the great game.

Today's goal is ending a long streak. It's nothing as significant as ending a 108-year-old World Series title drought, but rather ending a decade of not seeing a specific team play. Two years ago, I started tracking how much time had passed since I had seen each team play. I'm a Cubs fan, Susan is a Brewers fans, and White Sox tickets are readily available, so I naturally see those three teams play the most. Even though I attend a dozen or more games each season, some teams continue to slip through the cracks.

For as many games as I attend, I have only seen the Tampa Bay Rays play twice. The first time was in 2006 to see a game at Tropicana Field and the last time was at U.S. Cellular Field in 2007. The last time was 3,753 days ago. Even more bizarre, I have not seen the Rays win a game. Ever.

The Rays will send 28-year-old Matt Andriese (5-1, 3.38 ERA) to the mound. The righty has not started a game since June 10 against the Oakland Athletics. During that outing, he suffered a right groin strain and was transferred to the disabled list. After rehabbing the injury and making minor league appearances, he pitched three innings in relief on August 28 against the Kansas City Royals.

The White Sox will counter with 23-year-old Lucas Giolito (1-1, 2.77 ERA). Today's start will be Giolito's third of the season at the major league level. One of the top prospects in White Sox system, Giolito was acquired from the Washington Nationals following the 2016 campaign in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton. That trade also brought Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning to the South Side.

Fun Fact: The last time I saw the Tampa Bay Rays play the Chicago White Sox was on May 25, 2007. Future Hall-of-Famer Mark Buerhle dueled current White Sox starting pitcher James Shields. Joe Crede hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Tadihito Iguchi in the bottom of the ninth to give the Sox a 5-4 win.

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