(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Rays kick off what figures to be a tough road trip on Friday night with the opener of a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox.
The Rays don't have a ton of momentum going into this 10-game swing, having lost seven of 10. They are coming off a series loss to the Minnesota Twins, falling on Thursday 9-7.
Erik Bedard was knocked out after four frames, having allowed five hits and four runs with five walks.
"I couldn't really throw strikes in the first inning," Bedard admitted of his 41-pitch frame. "I was just trying to battle and throw it in the strike zone, but I had a couple of walks in the first and I got better as the game progressed."
David DeJesus slugged a two-run shot and James Loney added two RBI for the Rays, who have three-game sets against Boston and the New York Yankees on deck following this wraparound series.
Chris Archer will take the mound for the Rays for his first career start against the White Sox. The 25-year-old did face them once before in relief, getting charged with four runs on three hits and two walks over two innings.
Archer, who is 2-1 with a 3.65 earned run average on the season, was slammed for seven runs in five innings of a loss at Baltimore on April 14. The righty rebounded to beat the New York Yankees on Saturday, however, giving up just one run over 6 2/3 frames. He scattered three hits and fanned four without issuing a walk.
Six innings appears to be the mark to reach for Archer. The Rays are 15-1 when he pitches six or more innings in a start and 2-9 when he does not.
Walks nearly plagued White Sox hurler Erik Johnson in his last outing and he'll try to find his control tonight.
Johnson picked up his first win of the season and fourth of his career on Sunday in Texas despite walking the leadoff hitter in four straight innings and issuing five free passes in all. Still, the righty was charged with just two runs -- one earned -- and one hit over his five innings, throwing just 44 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
The 24-year-old was gifted plenty of support in the 16-2 win and also gave some credit to catcher Tyler Flowers.
"Five walks is a lot," Johnson told his team's website. "I gave them way too much for what they got and I'm just lucky (we) could turn a few double plays. It's not the day I wanted, but I'll take it.
"In the big situations, I thought (Flowers) put down some good fingers and he called a good game for what I was working with. I did make some big pitches when I needed them."
Flowers is 1-1 with a 5.32 ERA on the season and will face the Rays for the first time.
Chicago is coming off a split of a four-game set with the Detroit Tigers, losing Thursday's finale 7-4. White Sox hitters struck out 10 times against Tigers starter Max Scherzer, while Jose Quintana took the loss for yielding three runs over six frames.
"We had opportunities," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "They took advantage of theirs with (Quintana). He pitched a good ballgame and he deserved better. But what can you say? Max (Scherzer) got us when he needed to."
Adam Dunn homered for the White Sox, who finished off a 3-4 road trip and have lost six of nine.
The Rays won the final five of their seven meetings with the White Sox last season, splitting four encounters in Chicago.