The Twins have a season-high lead in the AL Central coming into tonight’s contest, as they look to deliver an early knockout blow to the White Sox at Target Field.
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Chicago had dropped seven of nine games to the Twins this season and are in danger of dropping out of the divisional race altogether. “They are tough losses,” said outfielder Andruw Jones. “Every time we keep coming back and scoring, it feels like they never give up.” The team is 6-21 versus Minnesota since May 21, 2009. The current five-game deficit for the White Sox is their largest in the division since trailing by 5 1/2 games on June 20. The club has lost four straight games and eight of their last 10 overall. Despite the recent slide, Chicago has still won 41 of its last 63 games. The White Sox are 6-9 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 this season (-80) and the total is 5-10 O/U in those games.
White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle is 11-9 with a 4.05 ERA in 24 starts this season and is coming off a 8-4 home win over the Tigers. In that outing, he allowed three runs and five hits over 6.1 innings. He is 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA and 11 quality starts in his last 12 outings. The left-hander is 5-7 with a 3.60 ERA in 13 road starts, issuing 14 walks and striking out just 30 batters in 85 innings of work. In 45 career games (43 starts) versus Minnesota, he is 24-17 with a 4.08 ERA, including an even 10-10 record and 4.60 ERA in the Twin Cities. Buehrle will be making his third start against the Twins this season, suffering a loss in his last start on July 17 at Target Field, allowing three runs on nine hits over eight innings.
Minnesota has captured the first two games of this series by an identical 7-6 score and the team has won seven straight games. Catcher Joe Mauer hit his first home run at Target Field in Wednesday’s victory, as he went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and the Twins pushed their lead in the AL Central to a season-high five games. It’s a different guy pretty much every night,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of his offense. “You like for it to be moving around a big. Guys have been putting some pretty good wins out there.” Mauer has batted .442 with four home runs and 30 RBIs since the All-Star break, moving his season average to .335. The club is a stellar 33-17 versus division opponents this year (+910) and the total is 28-20 O/U in those contests. Minnesota has also had success against southpaws in 2010, producing a 25-17 record (+690), which is an improvement from its 82-75 mark over the last three campaigns (+180).
Twins starting pitcher Carl Pavano is 15-7 with a 3.27 ERA in 24 starts this season and the club has won seven of his last eight outings. The right-hander is 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 home starts this season, issuing just 14 walks and striking out 44 batters in 76 innings. In three starts this month, he has compiled a 2-1 record and 3.72 ERA, while not surrendering a home run in 19.1 frames. Pavano has made seven career starts versus the White Sox, going 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA. His last two months have been solid, going 10-1 with a 2.63 ERA since June 9, including picking up a 4-3 home win over Oakland last time out.
Bettors will find the White Sox being an even 3-3 after three or more consecutive losses (-10) and 23-16 in this situation the last three years (+600). Minnesota is a dominating 20-3 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 (+1,600) and 38-20 overall at Target Field (+790).