Minnesota Twins vs Chicago White Sox: Home Opening Series Preview

May 1, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
May 1, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Twins Look to Re-start Season at Home with Series vs White Sox

After just missing out on their first win of 2016 against the Kansas City Royals, the Twins (0-6) look to get strong with a little home cooking in a 3 game set against the Chicago White Sox (4-2) at Target Field.

Some good signs showed through at the end of the Royals series. Strong starting pitching (Ricky Nolasco), a couple players with mulit-hit games (Joe Mauer 3-3, Eduardo Nunez 4-4), and plane tickets back to Minnesota.

Twins really need to starting putting the bat on the ball. Another 14 strikeouts yesterday killed any chances of sustaining rallies. Twins have already struck out a major league-leading 72 times in just 6 games, the least K’s were 9 in one game. It’s no wonder they are then last in scoring runs with just 12 scored (2 R’s/game).

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It’s not going to get any easier for the Twins, as they start off the series against Jose Quintana, who struck out 7 with no walks, in his season-opening start against the Oakland A’s. The Twins have double digit strikeouts in 5 of 6 games in 2016.

The good news is that the Twins have hit Quintana fairly hard in his 13 career starts against them, splitting 8 decisions and handing him a 4.24 ERA. Most notably, the Twins have a .264 batting average, and a .702 OPS against Quintana.

Monday Day Game

Jose Quintana (1-0, 3.18 ERA) vs Kyle Gibson (0-1, 7.20 ERA)

3:10 Target Field

TV: Fox Sports North

Tuesday Off Day

Wednesday Night Game

Carlos Rodon (0-1, 2.57 ERA) vs Phil Hughes (0-1, 4.50 ERA)

7:10 Target Field

TV: Fox Sports North

Thursday Day Game

Mat Latos (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Tommy Milone (0-1, 3.86 ERA)

12:10 Target Field

TV: MLB Network

Chicago: Coming off a series against division rival Cleveland, the White Sox split two games (Sunday’s game PPD due to rain), losing the first game 7-1, and taking Saturday’s game 7-2. They opened the season taking 3 of 4 against the Oakland A’s, getting good starting pitching including the one game they lost, a 2-1 decision in which starting pitcher Rodon gave up just two runs in 7 innings.

Offense: Chicago is averaging 4 runs/game, though their batting average is a Twins-like .234, but they have only struck out 41 times. They are this year’s Minnesota Twins, scoring their runs in bunches. In each of their four wins, they have put crooked numbers up on the scoreboard, with a 5 run inning, two 4-run innings, and a 3 run inning split among each of their 4 wins. Twins will have to limit the big inning against the White Sox hitters.

Player(s) to Watch: The White Sox are a two-man wrecking crew right now, with Jose Abreu (2 HR’s, 5 RBI) & Todd Frazier (2 HR’s, 4 RBI) leading the charge. Abreu is the heart of the White Sox batting order, coming off back to back 30+ HR, 100+ RBI seasons to start his career. Frazier, the former Cincinnati Red acquired in the off-season, is only a lifetime .256 hitter, but slugs at a .463 clip. Much of that has been chalked up to the Reds’ smaller ballpark, but Frasier is proving doubters wrong by bopping two with the Sox in his first week.

Pitching: Top heavy with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, the Sox acquired veteran starter Mat Latos over the winter. The White Sox are his fifth team over the past two years. Latos had a run of 4 straight seasons with 185+ strikeouts, a number that doesn’t bode well for the Twins. Twins will be avoiding the White Sox ace, Chris Sale, who tied the league record with 10+ strikeout in 8 consecutive starts.

Player to Watch: Young lefty, Carlos Rodon, is also a strikeout artist, averaging a strikeout and inning in his first year, though he also averages more than 3 walks/game. His season opener versus the A’s, he was in control, with a line 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 6 K, 1 BB in a loss versus A’s ace Sonny Gray.

Twins: Coming off a crushing defeat in which they lead 3-1 into the bottom of the 9th, the Twins must shake off their demons in short order for their home opener. Gibson struggled in his first game, though he looks to right things versus his favorite team. Gibson is 4-0 lifetime against Chicago, with a career 2.13 ERA in six starts. Manager Paul Molitor said he was disappointed over yesterday’s loss, especially after a strong 2015, and a team that looked to have things in place during Spring Training.

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Notes: Twins are going with their Opening Day lineup in today’s game, hoping to re-start their season. Yesterday’s hero, Eduardo Nunez, will be a reserve. Joe Mauer, 3 hits yesterday, slides back up into the #2 spot. Molitor hopes to see more bunting from his center fielder, Buxton, who successfully beat one out to lead off the 9th inning yesterday. Tomorrow is an off day, with a night game Wednesday and another afternoon game on getaway day.