Preview: White Sox at Twins
GAME: Chicago White Sox (61-68) at Minnesota Twins (67-63)
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 01 – 8:10 PM EST
WHERE: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
LINE: -150, 138 TOTAL: 7.5
The Minnesota Twins are showing no signs of falling out of the American League wild card race as they prepare to host the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series. Minnesota is 8-2 in its last 10 contests while winning three consecutive series and was 1 1/2 games behind Texas for the final wild card spot entering Monday’s games.
“I know there’s character in there. We’re resilient,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told reporters after Sunday’s 7-5 victory over AL West-leading Houston. “There’s a lot of things I’ve enjoyed watching about us. We’re aggressive and we’re finding a way to hang in there.” Minnesota (67-63) has outscored Chicago 78-35 this season while winning nine of 13 meetings – including eight of the last 10 – and is 6-1 versus the White Sox at Target Field. The White Sox (61-68) finished a 3-4 homestand with a 6-5 victory in 11 innings over Seattle on Sunday and begin a stretch of 12 straight contests against AL Central rivals, capped by a three-game set versus the Twins from Sept. 11-13. Chicago ace left-hander Chris Sale is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA over his last four turns and opposes Tyler Duffey, who makes his fifth career start.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox LH Chris Sale (12-7, 3.20 ERA) vs. Twins RH Tyler Duffey (2-1, 4.29)
Sale increased his season strikeout total to a career-high 229 after fanning seven in seven scoreless innings of Chicago’s 3-0 loss to Boston on Wednesday. The 26-year-old Floridian struck out 29 over his previous two starts in victories over Seattle and the Chicago Cubs, and has whiffed at least six in 23 of his 25 turns this season. Sale is 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA in four starts versus Minnesota this season to fall to 7-4, 3.56 in 20 appearances (12 starts) in his career versus the Twins and struggles against Brian Dozier (10-for-33, three home runs, nine RBIs), but fares better against Joe Mauer (8-for-31).
Duffey received a no-decision after allowing two runs, seven hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings of Chicago’s 5-3 victory in Tampa Bay on Wednesday. The 24-year-old Texan won his previous two starts, striking out eight without walking a batter while yielding two runs over 7 2/3 frames in Baltimore on Aug. 20 and yielding one hit and five walks in six shutout innings versus Cleveland five days earlier. Left-handers are hitting .372 while righties are batting .179 versus Duffey.
1. Chicago SS Alexei Ramirez went 7-for-13 in the three-game series versus Seattle while White Sox LF Melky Cabrera is 12-for-26 in his last six games after a 4-for-5 performance Sunday.
2. Sale likely has seven starts remaining and could become the first pitcher to strike out 300 in a season since Arizona’s Curt Schilling (316) in 2002.
3. Minnesota is 40-25 at home, the fourth-best record in the AL behind only division-leading Houston, Kansas City and Toronto.
PREDICTION: White Sox 1, Twins 0