We’re three series into the season and the Twins are 6-3 and tied for first place in the AL Central, which is a surprise to many. This weekend they’ll be returning to Target Field to take on the White Sox, who are 4-4 and in third place in the central, which is a surprise to me because the White Sox are supposed to be really bad this year, not a .500 ball club. Sure, I could point out it’s still early in the season, small sample sizes, yadda yadda, but that would undermine the point that the TWINS ARE TIED FOR FIRST PLACE IN THE AL CENTRAL!
The Twins have a good chance to break that tie up tonight (provided it doesn’t rain) when they face the White Sox’s fifth starter, Dylan Covey. If that name is unfamiliar, it’s because this guy has never thrown a single pitch in the majors. The White Sox claimed him in the Rule 5 draft and stuck him at the back of the rotation instead of somewhere in the bullpen. He hasn’t made a start yet because the White Sox were rained out a bunch their first week and got to skip him.
So rookie Dylan Covey will be taking on Twins rookie Adalberto Mejia, who has all the experiential advantage of having made one previous MLB start. That start was last week, and it was also against the White Sox, and, er, Mejia actually did pretty bad (he gave up two earned runs and was pulled 1.2 innings into the game). Hmm... might be quite the pitcher’s duel.
The actual pitching duel of the series, though, looks to be Saturday’s game featuring the teams’ respective aces, Ervin Santana and Jose Quintana. It’s the same match-up as last Sunday, when Jorge Polanco hit a dinger off Quintana and Miguel Sano and Robbie Grossman both doubled off of him. Oh, and Santana threw six scoreless innings and the Twins won 4-2. I would be fine with all of this just repeating itself.
Sunday’s game has a strange 3:10 pm CT start time, which I assume has something to do with Jesus rising from the dead. It features Hector Santiago and James Shields, neither of whom pitched last weekend in these two teams’ first do-around. The Twins are certainly familiar with Shields, however, and have had relative success against him—Brian Dozier has had three home runs, Byron Buxton (!!) two home runs, and Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, and Joe Mauer (!!!!) have each had one home run against the right-hander.
Meanwhile, the only current White Sox to have homered off Santiago is Melky Cabrera, and he won’t even be with the team this weekend because he’s on paternity leave.
Looks like a good weekend to retake sole-control of first place.
Game 1: Friday, 4/14 7:10 pm CT - Adalberto Mejia LHP vs. Dylan Covey RHP
Game 2: Saturday, 4/15 1:10 pm CT - Ervin Santana RHP vs. Jose Quintana LHP
Game 3: Sunday, 4/16 3:10 pm CT - Hector Santiago LHP vs. James Shields RHP
- With all the talk about Byron Buxton’s slow start, there hasn’t been enough attention drawn to Miguel Sano’s really hot start. Through nine games, Sano is 9-for-23 (.310) with a three home runs, a triple, and three doubles.
- Byron Buxton does have an MLB-leading 19 strikeouts, though.
- White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier has missed two consecutive games with the flu.
- As mentioned earlier, White Sox Melky Cabrera is away on paternity leave this weekend.