The Rays are pretty proud of their home-field advantage, and for good reason. They were 21-2 this season on the 23 occasions that they played in front of crowds of 30,000 or more at Tropicana Field. Make that 22-2 after Thursday's Game 1 victory against Chicago before a sellout crowd of 35,041. The Rays had eight regular-season sellouts in 2008.
Heading into Game 1, Rays pitchers had a 2.95 ERA in seven home games vs. the White Sox, while they compiled a 4.28 ERA on the road against Chicago. Scott Kazmir, who will start Game 2 on Friday for the Rays, threw seven shutout innings in his only home start against the Sox this season.
Bucking the trend: It may have looked on Thursday like Evan Longoria owns the White Sox, but in the regular season, he had just three hits in 25 at-bats, and no home runs against the Central champs.
Clutch struggles: The White Sox were 1-for-5 Thursday with runners in scoring position, continuing a trend against the Rays this year. Heading into Game 1, they were hitting .195 (17-for-87) against Tampa Bay in those key situations.
Usuallly homer-happy: The White Sox had two home runs in Game 1 (Dewayne Wise and Paul Konerko) and that usually bodes well. They were 80-43 this season when homering.
Turf woes: The White Sox are now 4-17 on artificial turf this season, with a 3-5 mark at Tropicana Field. However, 13 of those 17 losses on artificial turf have been by three runs or fewer.
Numbers game: Konerko apparently lost track of the count leading off the ninth against Dan Wheeler, but it ended up paying dividends for the White Sox captain. Konerko got about halfway down the first-base line on what he thought was ball four, only to realize it was ball three. A smiling Konerko returned to hit and launched the 11th pitch of the at-bat for his sixth playoff home run -- extending his own club record.