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Game 51: Twins at White Sox

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Jake Odorizzi returns for an important start

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals
Odo is back, and he isn’t facing the Royals!
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

First Pitch: 7:10 pm Central
Television: FOX Sports North;
Radio (English): WCCO 830 AM, Treasure Island Baseball Network, KMBN 102.9 FM “The Wolf”
Radio (Spanish): twinsbeisbol.com
Know Thine Enemy: South Side Sox

The Minnesota Twins are now three games back from the Chicago White Sox in the A.L. Central. With only two more games against the South Siders this year, Rocco Baldelli’s crew no longer “controls their own destiny,” as they say, at least when it comes to winning the division.

But, sitting a single game back with seven to play sounds a lot better than three or five back, which are the other possibilities for what the standings will look like when the Twins head to the north side to take on the Cubs this weekend.

So, with that in mind, let’s shoot for a split and a win in the season series, earning the Twins any necessary tie-breaker.

Now, the Twins are all but guaranteed a playoff spot with only eight games to play after Wednesday night. But winning the division is always nice, and keeping the White Sox from winning the division is arguably nicer. (Also, don’t look now but the current matchup between the 4-seed and the 5-seed in the American League is ... familiar.)

As for Wednesday night’s game, Jake Odorizzi will return from the injured list to take on the White Sox in his first appearance since he was hit with a line drive in Kansas City back on August 21st. Strangely enough, all three of his starts to this point in the season have come against the Royals. (In addition to Odorizzi, Alex Avila will also return from the injured list. Travis Blankenhorn and Randy Dobnak (!) were optioned off the active roster.)

He’ll be opposed by Lucas Giolito. Since his no-hitter against the Pirates on August 25th, he’s given up 8 earned runs in 16 23 innings, which is the equivalent of a 4.32 ERA — not terrible, but not what the Sox expect of their ace. That includes the four runs (two earned) that Giolito gave up to the Twins in a loss at Target Field in his first start following the no-hitter.

Miguel Sano went 2-for-3 with a walk and a solo homer off of Giolito in that game, but the Twins ultimately lost 8-5 when Rich Hill lost his command in the fourth inning. This was also the game in which the bullpen faltered all the way around, losing an early 4-0 lead and culminating in three unearned runs scored off of Taylor Rogers in the ninth inning following a dropped fly ball by Max Kepler.

Undoubtedly, happier times are ahead against the White Sox. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, the season series between the two clubs is tied at four wins apiece, and the Twins have a chance to take the lead with a ‘W’ tonight.

Enjoy the game!

Today's Lineups

TWINS WHITE SOX
Max Kepler - RF Tim Anderson - SS
Josh Donaldson - 3B Yasmani Grandal - 1B
Nelson Cruz - DH Jose Abreu - DH
Eddie Rosario - LF Eloy Jimenez - LF
Miguel Sano - 1B Yoan Moncada - 3B
Byron Buxton - CF James McCann - C
Marwin Gonzalez - 2B Luis Robert - CF
Ehire Adrianza - SS Nomar Mazara - RF
Alex Avila - C Nick Madrigal - 2B
Jake Odorizzi - RHP Lucas Giolito - RHP