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Series Preview: Twins look to keep momentum going against the White Sox

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More divisional games provide an opportunity for the Twins to close the gap, and enhance their playoff chances.

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Taking three of four from Cleveland put the Twins in a good position, but taking this series from the White Sox is very important to capitalize on that performance. The Twins are currently three-and-a-half games behind Cleveland. If Milwaukee and Detroit can help out the Twins this week, by beating Cleveland, that gap could be closed by quite a bit.

Chicago is a pretty beatable team this season, but that was expected. They committed to a rebuild last season, and traded away quite a few veterans. Still, they find themselves in last place in the woeful AL Central, with a record of 18-38. They have won three of their last ten games.

Minnesota’s last ten games haven’t been much better — they’ve only won four. Three of those wins have been in their last three games though, so hopefully the skid has stopped. Against Cleveland, the offense finally started scoring, which was the team’s issue during May. If the hitters keep hitting, and the pitchers keep pitching the way they have recently, this team will be sitting rather pretty.

The first starter the Twins turn to is Fernando Romero. Romero threw a bit of a clunker in his last start, his first struggles in the major leagues. He gave up eight runs to the Royals in less than two innings. It will be interesting to see how he responds, and if he can rebound. The rookie hasn’t faced the White Sox yet.

Romero faces another young Dominican pitcher, 24-year old Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez had a similarly troublesome outing his last turn in the rotation. He pitched less than three innings, and gave up seven runs to Cleveland. Despite that, his ERA this season is still just 3.80, and he’s pitched through the sixth inning more often than not. He faced the Twins at the end of May, and gave up four earned runs in six-and-two-thirds innings. Overall, when he is facing the Twins, here is how they have fared.

The second game of the series is also on Tuesday. This is a traditional double-header, and is being played due to a weather postponement back in April. Game two will start roughly thirty minutes after game one ends, and the Twins are likely to start another rookie pitcher for this one. Zack Littell is probable to make his MLB debut. Littell was part of the return from the trade of Jaime Garcia to the Yankees last season. He started the season at Double-A, but has made four starts in Triple-A with a 2.57 ERA this season.

The Pale Hose are expected to counter Littell with Lucas Giolito. The young right-hander has struggles this season, and owns a 7.53 ERA. The Twins saw him on April 12th, and scored three runs in six-and-one-third inning. He was quite wild during that game, giving up five walks and five hits, and only garnering three strikeouts. Overall, here are the batting lines against Giolito.

On Wednesday, the Twins will send Jake Odorizzi to the mound. Cleveland knocked Odorizzi around a bit in his last start, and he gave up eight runs in less than four innings. That was his worst performance all season, and he has generally put the team in position to win. That outing ballooned his ERA to 4.14, although a strong start in Chicago could bring it back down below four. He faced the whities back in early May, and pitched pretty well in a game the Twins ultimately lost. Through five-and-one-third innings, he allowed three runs, walked two, and struck out eight batters. In his career, here are his numbers facing the White Sox.

Old Friend Hector Santiago will face off against Odorizzi. Santiago has struggled a bit this season, and his ERA is 5.10. Last time he faced the Twins, he was chased from the game after only three-and-one-third innings, having surrendered eight runs and six walks, while only striking out two batters. Not a good start for Santiago, but great for the Twins. When facing him, here is how the batters have performed.

The final starter for the Twins will be Jose Berrios. He has a 3.86 ERA this season, and has been pitching pretty well again lately. In his last start, he gave up four runs to Cleveland, but only walked one man compared to seven strikeouts. He has faced Chicago twice already this season, combining for a total of thirteen innings, four runs, and a 13-2 K/BB ratio. In his career, here is what his numbers look like against them.

James Shields will start the last game of the series for Chicago. Remember when he was a dominant pitcher? He isn’t that anymore, but has turned in some very strong performances lately anyway. His last four starts were all seven innings or longer, and he gave up three or fewer runs in each of them. The last time he faced the Twins, he pitched six-and-two-thirds, giving up three runs, and striking out five Twins. He’s faced them a ton of times in his career. Here is how it has gone.

Pitching Match Ups

Game 1: Tuesday, June 5th; 3:10 pm CT — Fernando Romero RHP vs Reynaldo Lopez RHP

Game 2: Tuesday, June 5th; 7:10 pm CT (approx) — Zack Littell RHP vs Lucas Giolito RHP

Game 3: Wednesday, June 6th; 7:10 pm CT — Jake Odorizzi RHP vs Hector Santiago LHP

Game 4: Thursday, June 7th; 12:10 pm CT — Jose Berrios RHP vs James Shields RHP

Poll

How many games do the Twins win against the White Sox?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    4
    (44 votes)
  • 62%
    3
    (96 votes)
  • 5%
    2
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    1
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    0
    (3 votes)
154 votes total Vote Now