Interleague plague is over. Fittingly, the White Sox go back to “normal” play by facing a division rival, the Minnesota Twins. Here is what to know as the White Sox embark on a seven-game, seven-day road trip:
2012 Record: White Sox 38-34, 1st in AL Central. Twins 29-42, 5th in AL Central
2012 Season Series Record: 2-1
All-time Series Record: 371-416 (The Sox are 168-224 at Minnesota)
The following pitchers are expected to start in the three games:
Jake Peavy: 6-3, 2.74 ERA, 83K v. Francisco Liriano: 1-7, 5.74 ERA, 65K
Gavin Floyd: 5-7, 5.20 ERA, 76K v. Liam Hendricks: 0-4, 7.39 ERA, 17K
Chris Sale: 8-2, 2.24 ERA, 89K v. Nick Blackburn: 4-4, 7.45 ERA, 26K
Monday and Tuesday’s games begin at 7:10 pm. Wednesday’s game is at 1:10 pm. All times CDT.
Hello again first place! That is where the White Sox find themselves after winning the rubber match agains the Brewers yesterday. That series saw some amazing pitching in two of the games. Jose Quintana lived up to his previous starts, despite allowing baserunners in most innings. And now, the White Sox may be on their way to finally taking a stand in the division and finally taking control.
The Sox acquired third baseman Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox for Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge. Since early in the season, Youkilis’ days were numbered in Boston.
Starting early on, there were issues with manager Bobby Valentine. Youk’s production this season was down and he was also hurt for a bit of time. The final nail in the coffin came with the emergence of Will Middlebrooks at third base. With Middlebrooks playign well, there was just no room for Youkilis to remain a Red Sox. Then it became just a matter of time of when he’d be shipped out of Boston and where his destination would be.
No one in the majors appeared to have the need at third base the White Sox did. Between Brent Morel and Orlando Hudson (as well as Eduardo Escobar and Brent Lillibridge) the production from third base for the White Sox was the worst in the Majors. Will that change with the addition of Youkilis? Decidedly so, it appears. Assuming his back is healthy enough to allow him to play, whatever he ends up doing will be a million times better for the White Sox. Whether this move actually makes a real difference remains to be seen. For now, fans should expect production pick up for the White Sox.
Meanwhile the Twins are just . . . not scary anymore. Remember the days when you hated playing this team because you knew the Sox would pee their pants because no matter how good the Sox were, the Twins just were in their heads? No more of that. At least we hope not.
The Twins have yet to win 30 games this season. They are even 2.5 games behind the Royals (who many have thought of as the worst team in the AL Central.) The Twins have been dealing with inconsistent starting pitching as well as numerous injuries all season. Not that injuries can’t make things awful for any team.
The Twins in their past 10 games have won only four games. They did win the series against the Reds in interleague plague. That was also on the road. Before the series win against the Reds, the Twins lost series to the Phillies, Brewers and Pirates. Of those teams, only the Reds and Pirates are above .500.
On the injury front, the team now has Nick Blackburn back. When the Twins and Sox met earlier in the year, Blackburn was on the disabled list. Now, they are waiting for reliever Matt Capps and starter Carl Pavano to get back. Capps is day-to-day with right shoulder inflammation. Pavano is out with a right anterior capsular strain. He has been dealing with issues since earlier in the season. In fact, he was supposed to pitch against the Sox when the two met earlier in the season, but he was pushed back due to issues.
Now is definitely the time for the Sox to take advantage. Their arch nemesis is down now. It is time to step on their throats and put them out of their misery. Or at least make it so that there is no worry for the White Sox in the upcoming remaining 1 games this season.
Who’s hot: Gordon Beckham finished the homestand with nine hits and five RBIs in 22 at-bats. Josh Willingham hit .300 on the recent road trip and had four RBIs. Who’s Not: Paul Konerko hit only .174 on the homestand. Presumably he is still fighting his way back from the wrist discomfort suffered earlier in the season that had him out a few games. Justin Morneau hit just .167 on the recent road trip for the Twins.