The Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox continue their American League Central series Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field
Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Minnesota continues to have all the answers against Chicago in picking up an 8-5 victory Friday night. The Twins have now won 30 of 37 meetings against the White Sox, pulling within 1 1/2 games of third place in the division standings. “I think everybody is aware of where we are right now,” said Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn. “If we can take the series, it’ll be a great four-game trip for us.” Catcher Joe Mauer will definitely want to stay behind in the Windy City, collecting 29 hits in his last 58 at-bats, which has raised his career batting average to .371 at the venue. Minnesota is 15-10 versus divisional foes this year, but just 15-19 in day games.
Twins starting pitcher Brian Duensing is 6-7 with a 4.25 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) this season and will look to win his third consecutive start. The left-hander has had little success on the road, posting a 2-4 record and 3.91 ERA, as opponents are hitting .277 against him in eight outings. Duensing has had a much better time during the day this year, recording a 4-4 mark and 2.72 ERA in eight daytime starts compared to a 2-3 record and 5.91 ERA at night. In 10 career games (four starts) versus the White Sox, he is a perfect 4-0 with a 2.50 ERA.
Chicago was unable to hold a 5-1 first-inning lead yesterday and is now 7-15 versus AL Central foes this year. “At least we had something out of the gate,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. “We started very well and all of the sudden, our tires got flat.” The White Sox remain 5 1/2 games back behind the Indians despite losing four straight home games. Struggling against its own division is nothing new for the squad after recording a losing 32-40 mark during the 2010 campaign. Offensively, the lineup is hoping to receive some sort of contribution from outfielder Adam Dunn before the All-Star break, who is mired in a 3-for-38 slump with 22 strikeouts. Chicago is an even 17-17 during day games.
White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle is 6-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 17 starts this season and is 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA over his last six starts at U.S. Cellular Field. On the year, the left-hander has a winning 4-1 mark and 2.83 ERA in eight home outings, but has registered just 26 strikeouts in 54 innings. Buehrle has made 48 lifetime appearances (46 starts) versus the Twins, posting a 25-19 record and 4.03 ERA, including a 14-8 mark and 3.82 ERA at home. He suffered a loss in his last start versus Minnesota on June 16 at Target Field despite allowing just a single run on three hits over seven frames.
Bettors will likely back the Twins due to their 5-0 mark as an underdog, while the White Sox are 0-4 as a home favorite