It took until their 22nd year of existence for the Tampa Bay Rays to win three successive series to begin a season. On Monday, they begin their bid for a fourth.

Fresh off a cross-country flight from San Francisco, the Rays will look to keep rolling when they visit the Chicago White Sox on Monday afternoon in the first of three straight weekday matinees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Rays’ pitching staff has been sterling in the early season, limiting opponents to two runs or fewer in eight of the club’s past nine games. Tampa Bay did the trick again in Sunday’s series finale against the Giants, topping the hosts 3-0 behind a combined five-hit shutout from Yonny Chirinos, Adam Kolarek, Chaz Roe, Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado.

An early lead, including runs in the first and fourth innings, only helped matters.

“Any time you get an early lead, it’s great,” Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said after the team followed a similar pattern on Friday. “But with what our pitchers have been doing, it’s one of those things right now where we once again felt like we had enough right then and there.

“I know it’s such a small sample size, but this could be a taste of what our pitchers can do throughout a full season.”

Reigning American League Cy Young winner Blake Snell is set to start Monday’s game for the Rays. A left-hander, Snell is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts over 13 innings this season, with three walks and 16 strikeouts.

Snell recorded 13 strikeouts in his most recent start, dominating the Colorado Rockies for seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball on April 2.

Lefty Carlos Rodon (1-1, 1.59 ERA) gets the call for the White Sox, who surrendered 10 home runs while losing two of three to the Seattle Mariners over the weekend. Rodon earned his first victory of the season in his most recent outing on April 3, allowing just one unearned run on two hits over six innings against the Cleveland Indians, striking out nine.

The White Sox are relying on young talent such as Rodon to help advance the team’s rebuild. Rodon and other core players, including third baseman Yoan Moncada, have had promising starts thus far as the organization takes the long view toward a 2019 campaign that will emphasize development.

“Let’s say we win more than we lose,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “It’s going to be much more important how we win those 82 than that number 82. Is it because Moncada took that step forward, and Eloy (Jimenez) made an impact, and (Lucas) Giolito and (Reynaldo) Lopez, and Tim Anderson, and Rodon and whoever else comes up this year (from the minors)?

“Or is it more on the backs of veteran-type guys like Ivan Nova and (Welington) Castillo? Ideally, it’s contributions from everybody, young and old, and it’s a great summer. Hopefully, it’s also one that puts is in a position, entering 2020, feeling very good about how this young core is coming together and what we’re capable of doing over the next couple of seasons.”

–Field Level Media

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