The Chicago White Sox (15-15) return home for a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins (15-14) at The Arrow. Here is our series preview. And be sure to check back for the latest preview on the afternoon of the first game of each series this season.
White Sox Preview
After a relatively strong showing at Kauffman Stadium against the Kansas City Royals, the White Sox went to Baltimore and were swept by the Orioles. Wasn’t the end to the 10-game roadie the club was hoping for.
Keep your eye on Jose Abreu, though. Over his past 13 games, Abreu is slashing out at .404/.456/.808 with five home runs, 10 RBI and 4 doubles. And his .400 BABiP is more the result of smoking the baseball than luck. He’s looked that good.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Tim Anderson. Over the course of the recent road trip, Anderson put up a .222 on-base percentage with two extra-base hits in 36 plate appearances. His struggles prompted manager Rick Renteria to drop Anderson to seventh in the batting order for the series finale versus the O’s. Hopefully he responds.
On the mound, the White Sox will send two of their best starters to the mound in Derek Holland and Miguel Gonzalez. The X-factor is the bullpen. Down three key pieces (Nate Jones, Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam), the unit is being held together by the likes of David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak and Michael Ynoa. No doubt they’ve performed admirably to this point. That said, the starters need to start making it into the seventh inning to keep them from being overworked. If the bullpen starts under-performing, this club is in real trouble.
The Twins come into town with a chip on their shoulder after giving up 28 runs over their final two games against the Boston Red Sox this past weekend. It was as bad as the run volume suggests. Pitchers to watch on the mound include Phil Hughes and Hector Santiago.
For Hughes, the question is which version will show up. In his six starts this season, he’s failed to go six, surrendering four earned three times. In the other contests, he’s logged at least six and hasn’t given up more than two earned. Santiago, on the other hand, is the face of consistency, never giving up more than three earned with four quality starts. And with a taxed bullpen, both will need to pitch deep into their starts if the Twins hope to take the series.
On offense, you can’t talk about the Twins without mentioning Miguel Sano. All he has done to this point is throw up a .300/.431/.640 slash with eight home runs, six doubles and 28 RBI. Oh, he’s also drawn 23 walks over 123 plate appearances. He’s 100 percent living up to the prospect hype which surrounded him as he came up through the minor leagues.
Other than Sano, however, the only Twins regular with an OPS over .760 is Robbie Grossman. That said, the lineup as a whole ranks fifth in the AL in OBP (.332) and sixth in OPS (.736). What they lack in pure power throughout the lineup, they make up for in timely hitting and plate discipline. The expected return of Brian Dozier should help in the power department.
Where to Watch and Listen
Tuesday: 7:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
Wednesday: 7:10 p.m., WGN
Thursday: 7:10 p.m., CSN-Chicago
*All games on WLS-AM 890 and WRTO-AM 1200 (Sp.)
*In which I take random stabs at calling the result ahead of time. One of these has to be right. Eventually.
Tuesday: Pelfrey has his best start of the season. Santiago does it again, pitching into the seventh against his former team. Sox lose
Wednesday: Holland out-duels Hughes. Robertson earns his sixth save of the season. Sox win
Thursday: Gonzo is on point. Tepesch is not. Sox win in a rout
Unless otherwise notes, advanced statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.
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