Minnesota Twins Look to Turn It Around Against White Sox
With a Record of 1-8 vs. Sox, the Minnesota Twins looks to turn it around in weekend series
Let the Jorge Polanco Era begin! Or something like that.
The Minnesota Twins pulled off their first trade, sending All-Star Eduardo Nunez to the San Francisco Giants for a promising arm.
Adalberto Mejia, ranked between seventh and ninth in the Giants farm system, will start at AAA Rochester.
New GM, Rob Antony, says that Mejia “is close” to being ready to play at the major league level. With Nunez gone, infielder Polanco was recalled and will play various positions throughout the infield.
The biggest question about Nunez being moved is who will lead-off for the Minnesota Twins now? That question should be answered this afternoon after manager Paul Molitor releases tonight’s lineup against division foe Chicago.
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The White Sox had their four game winning streak snapped Wednesday night, a day after they had climbed back to the .500 mark. Last night, their ace, Chris Sale, returned from the suspended list only to get out-pitched by veteran John Lackey.
With Sale pitching last night, the Twins will miss him in the rotation in this weekend series. But have no fear, they’ll be seeing Jose Quintana for the fourth time already this season in the opener.
Quintana (8-8) is 2-1 against the Minnesota Twins, and will be attempting to tie his career high with his ninth win of the season.
The Twins will counter with Ricky Nolasco, who has not fared well against the White Sox this season, going 0-2.
His last start against the White Sox, in Chicago, he pitched into the sixth inning – giving up seven runs. He’s also coming off his worst start of the season, going just two innings, giving up six earned, in a game where the Minnesota Twins came back to beat the Red Sox, 11-9.
Friday Night Game
Jose Quintana (8-8, 2.97 ERA) vs Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.40 ERA)
7:10 PM CDT Target Field
TV: Fox Sports North
Saturday Night Game
Miguel Gonzalez (2-5, 4.28 ERA) vs Tommy Milone (3-3, 4.97 ERA)
7:10 PM CDT Target Field
TV: Fox Sports North
Sunday Day Game
James Shields (5-12, 4.68 ERA) vs Ervin Santana (3-9, 3.78 ERA)
1:10 PM CDT Target Field
TV: Fox Sports North
CHICAGO: James Shield began his resurgence with his start against the Minnesota Twins on June 29th. Acquired in a trade with the Padres, Shields started off 0-2 in his first four starts with the Sox, with an ERA at a whopping 15.80.
After holding the Twins to one run in that start, he proved that wasn’t an aberration as he has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last six starts.
He punctuated possibly his last start with Chicago by tossing 7 2/3 shutout innings against the high-powered Cubs Tuesday night.
While Shields is scheduled to pitch Sunday, most pundits are expecting him to be traded before then, or held out to avoid the risk of injury as Chicago negotiates with other teams.
His mound opponent Sunday, Ervin Santana, is also being bandied about in various trade rumors, especially now that the Twins have traded for a pitcher who could start the 2017 season on the major league roster.
PITCHING: Miguel Gonzalez will be making his first start against the Minnesota Twins as a White Sox, going 1-2 versus the Twins while pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. He’s been throwing his cutter more often, with good results.
His record is deceiving, he’s thrown five straight quality starts, but only has one win during that stretch – seven shutout innings in a 5-0 win over the Yankees.
Chris Sale has been welcomed back into the fold after the kerfuffle over the White Sox throwback jerseys. He too, is on the trading block, though Chicago will demand a king’s ransom in return given his affordable contract.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jose Quintana. As well as Quintana has done well pitching against the Twins stats-wise (3.92 ERA in 16 career starts), he’s only 6-5 lifetime against Minnesota.
Out of the nine teams he’s thrown at least 30 innings against, only the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros have averaged to strike out more than once an inning against Quintana.
After winning against the Twins on May 8th to run his record to 5-1, he did not win again until July 3rd – a run of nine straight starts.
The streak culminated in Kyle Gibson‘s 4-0 shutout win over Quintana and the White Sox on June 28th.
Quintana is now on a three game winning streak, with the White Sox winning all of his last four starts. He’s been a victim of poor run support, with Chicago scoring only 10 runs total in his eight defeats.
HITTING: The White Sox are hovering near the .500 mark only because of the production from their off-season acquisition, Todd Frazier.
With Jose Abreu struggling with his power production all season, Frazier’s bat has been a welcome surprise.
Despite a batting average barely above .200 all season, Frazier has managed to lead the White Sox in HR’s (29), runs (58), and RBI (67).
His 29 homers are second in all of baseball, behind only the 30 put up by Baltimore’s Mark Trumbo.
PLAYER TO WATCH: With Brett Lawrie going on the DL a couple days ago, the crown of Twins-killer falls to Adam Eaton.
He’s a lifetime .295 hitter against the Minnesota Twins, with nine doubles and 21 RBI, his highest against any team.
He also seems to make one highlight-worthy defensive play in every game against Minnesota.
His best splits versus any of the Twins pitchers he’ll face in this weekend’s series are against Ervin Santana, going 4-for-10 lifetime.
MINNESOTA: It will be interesting to see where Jorge Polanco will play. He might start at third base, given Miguel Sano‘s recent defensive problems there.
He might also be inserted into short, with Eduardo Escobar moving to third base, like he did in last night’s game.
Either way, the Minnesota Twins need to play Polanco as much as they can the rest of the year to see what they have.
He’s out of options next year, so the Twins will need to get a decent read on his abilities at the major league level.
Tommy Milone looks to get back on track in Saturday’s game. He had won three straight starts before the disaster that happened in Boston.
He was charged with eight runs, four earned, as Sano kicked the ball around a couple times.
The first time did not result in an error, but the next batter proceeded to hit a three-run home run.
After another Sano miscue, Milone served up another three-run shot that put the Minnesota Twins in an early 8-3 hole.
The biggest question will be if Santana makes his Sunday start, and what other moves will Antony make between now and the upcoming trading deadline?
Will Trevor Plouffe actually get traded while on the DL? A starter needs to get moved (or demoted) as Jose Berrios needs his next start to happen for the big club.
NOTES: By winning last night’s ballgame against the O’s, the Minnesota Twins avoided getting swept twice in two games against Atlanta and Baltimore.
While a one-game makeup game in and of itself wouldn’t constitute a sweep, the Twins had lost the first two games of that series before the finale was postponed.
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