Minnesota Twins vs Chicago White Sox Weekend Series Preview
Chicago: The White Sox are coming off a series loss to the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox, though the Red Sox did not have to face either staff ace Chris Sale, or the surprising Mat Latos. The lone win versus Boston came with Jose Quintana limiting the Red Sox to just 4 hits (solo Hanley Ramirez HR accounting for only run) and no walks over 8 strong innings.
The White Sox, who out-scored the Twins 10-2 in a three game sweep at Target Field in mid-April, bring out the big guns for this series. Minnesota will have to face Sale, Latos, and Quintana, a combined 14-1, with no pitcher having an ERA higher than 1.84. Even though the Sox are just 6-4 in their last 10 games, they have actually increased their AL Central lead during this stretch.
The White Sox are actually hitting worse than the Twins, with no batter hitting over .300 for them this year. They are getting it done with quality pitching, allowing nearly 2 runs a game less than Minnesota so far this year. Their team 2.83 ERA is currently 4th in the majors for 2016, a half run higher than their in-town rival Cubs.
Offense: Lead-off hitter Adam Eaton loves to face Twins pitching. Over the last 3 years, he’s hitting .312 with 17 RBI (most against any team) versus Minnesota. Newcomer Todd Frazier is still adapting to American League pitching, but leads the White Sox with 7 homers and is second to Jose Abreu with 18 RBI.
Player to watch: Jose Abreu. Prior to his his oh-fer yesterday, Abreu had been hitting .438 with 10 RBI in previous 8 games. Abreu is a lifetime .308 hitter versus Minnesota pitching, with 5 HRs and 20 RBI since becoming a big-leaguer in 2014.
Pitching: Where to start. Prior to the season start, the White Sox were considered to have the ace of the division in Chris Sale. After that, Jose Quintana looked to be promising, but everyone after that looked hittable. Mat Latos, making the jump from the NL to the AL, has actually seen his numbers improve with the switch. Latos was 4-10 with three different NL clubs last year, checking in with a 4.95 ERA. He’s already matched last year’s win total in just 5 starts.
Player to watch: Ace of the staff, Chris Sale. Already leading the league in wins (6 wins in 6 starts), Sale has 5 quality starts, and is averaging 7.1 innings per start. He’s down a little this year in strikeouts after leading the AL last year. He averaged 8.8 strikeouts per game last year, 2.5 more than this year. Though, he hasn’t face the Twins yet, who rank 5th with 249 strikeouts as a team, roughly 9 per game.
Next: Minnesota Breakdown