Opening Day is just over a week and a half away. Over this time span, I will taking a look at how each team in the Twins’ division is looking. First up, the Chicago White Sox.
2012 Record: 85-77
Standing: Finished 2nd in the AL Central
The White Sox still remain a strong candidate to be a threat in the AL Central after a surprise finish at 2nd place a year ago. The rotation is one of the stronger in the Central, with Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Jose Quintana. Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn will be in the middle of the lineup, always a threat for the big hit.
Who to watch for:
Sale signed a contract extension this year, and is a big year for him as he finished sixth in CY Young voting a year ago. He should be the ace of this staff for many years.
With the departure of Pierzynski, the White Sox are giving Flowers a first crack at full time duties behind the plate. Can he produce over a whole season? If he doesn’t, look for Chicago to be in the trade market.
Dunn had a great year after a mediocre 2011 season, finishing with 41 HR and 96 RBI. Will he repeat, or will he only hit 11 HR again?
Can he improve his plate discipline after walking only 28 times in 543 PA? He has promise for the White Sox righty-heavy lineup; he smacked 25 HR in 2012.
He makes this list only because he’s a former Twin. Crain is part of a strong back end of the bullpen. He posted a 3.23 ERA in 61.1 IP through 56 games in 2012.
Can the Twins beat them?
Sure they can. I’ll argue the Twins can beat anyone in the Central, Minnesota has a promising offense. It all comes down to pitching. The White Sox should win the season series.
2013 Predicted Finish: 3rd place, AL Central