The White Sox start a two-city road trip this weekend with a four game series against the Twins at Target Field. They went 6-4 on the last homestand, winning five out of six games against the Yankees and Tigers, but losing three out of four to Minnesota. As usual, baseball makes perfect sense.
Minnesota is in the midst of an eight-game homestand and dropped two of three to the Tribe over the weekend. The Sox are 3-9 against the Twinkies this year.
The series gets underway on Thursday night with Andre Rienzo (0-0, 4.42 ERA) going up against Mike Pelfrey (4-10, 5.32 ERA).
Pelfrey will be making his second straight start against the White Sox and his fourth start against the Pale Hose this year. Last time out, the Sox tagged him with a loss, as they scored five runs (four ER) in five innings on four hits and five walks. The five walks issued by Pelfrey were a season high.
Overall this season, the Sox have gotten their licks in on Pelfrey, who is 0-2 with a 7.80 ERA against them. They have hit Pelfrey at a .344 clip and have taken him yard four times. Adam Dunn has a pair of homers lifetime against him, and Connor Gillaspie, Dayan Viciedo and Jordan Danks have also gone deep against the veteran right hander.
Like Pelfrey, Rienzo will be making his second straight start against the same team. Last time out, Rienzo went 5.1 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with five K’s and five BB’s. It was the first time in three starts that Rienzo has been roughed up at the Major League level.
Once again, it was a single big inning that doomed Rienzo, as he gave up two home runs, a single, a walk, and a hit batter in the third. The rest of his innings were fairly uneventful. The five walks are also an area of concern, as his walk totals were a little high in the minors. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts this time out facing a team for a second time. Brian Dozier and Oswaldo Arcia did the deep damage against Rienzo last time around.
Friday night’s matchup will have Jose Quintana (6-4, 3.70 ERA) opposing Kevin Correia (8-8, 4.59 ERA).
Correia also made his last start against the White Sox and got the win, tossing seven shutout innings while allowing five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. This will be Correia’s fourth start against the Sox this year, and he is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.016 WHIP. The Sox are hitting .247 against Correia with three home runs.
Correia’s ERA against the White Sox this year is the best against any team he has faced more than once. Adam Dunn has a couple of career home runs against Correia, and Keppinger, De Aza and Viciedo have also gone deep against him.
Jose Quintana was roughed up by the Twins his last time out. He lasted just five innings and gave up five runs on six hits, including two home runs. The five runs allowed by Quintana were the most in a start since his first start of the season back on April 5 against the Mariners. It was the first time he allowed more than three runs in a start since the end of June.
Surprisingly, that last start was the only time Quintana has faced the Twins this year. Lifetime against Minnesota, he is 0-2 with a 9.15 ERA in four starts. Current Twins batters are hitting .364 with four home runs against Quintana. Josh Willingham is 5-for-9 (.556) with two home runs against Q.
Saturday night will see a pair of southpaws matchup as Chris Sale (8-11, 2.73 ERA) takes on Andrew Albers (2-0, 0.00 ERA).
Albers will be making his third start for the Twins after being called up in earlier this month, and his first two starts could not have been more impressive. In his Major League debut against the Royals, he tossed 8.1 scoreless innings and held K.C. to four hits. He followed that up with a two-hit complete game shutout of the Indians. In both games, he struck out only two batters and kept his pitch count low.
Batters have hit just .105 against him with an even more impressive .113 batting average on balls in play. One interesting note is that of the 211 pitches thrown by Albers in his first two starts, there have only been 10 swings and misses. That means he isn’t missing a lot of bats, and eventually, the balls put in play should start finding holes.
Chris Sale continues to do his thing for the White Sox. Sale won his last two starts against the Yankees and Tigers, holding both teams to a combined three runs (two ER) on 14 hits over 16.1 innings. He also struck out 12 batters combined in those outings. A couple more games like those and he will be back to .500, even though he should probably have close to 15 wins by now.
This will be Sale’s second start against Minnesota this year. He took the loss the last time against them giving up four runs on eight hits in five innings. Lifetime against the Twins, he has been very good, posting a 3-1 record with a 1.85 ERA in 12 games (four starts). Of all people, Brian Dozier has two home runs against Sale, his only hits in six at bats.
The series finale Sunday afternoon will have Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.37 ERA) squaring off with Samuel Deduno (7-6, 3.54 ERA).
Deduno has been the Twins most consistent starter this year, leading the team in ERA, WHIP and quality start percentage. However, he has struggled a little bit lately, allowing more than three runs in back-to-back starts for the first time this year. The Royals and Twins both beat him his last two trips to the mound. Deduno has also been the victim of low run support, getting just 3.18 runs per start.
The Sox have not faced Deduno yet this season. Lifetime against the White Sox, he is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in two career starts. Gordon Beckham (2-for-5, HR), Adam Dunn (2-for-3, double), and Avisail Garcia (2-for-3) are the only Sox players with multiple hits against Deduno. Paul Konerko is 1-for-4 with a three-run homer as well.
Hector Santiago will once again be in search of his first win since June 21. He battled through five innings against the Tigers last time out, allowing two runs (one ER) on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts. He left the game with the lead, but the Sox gave up the lead late before eventually winning in extra innings. Santiago has made one start against the Twins this year, going 5.2 innings and allowing six runs (three ER) on eight hits, including two home runs. He also took the loss in a relief appearance back in April, when he allowed an unearned run in the 10th inning, the first run he had allowed all year in 10.2 innings. Current Twins batters are hitting just .182 with two doubles against Santiago, and Joe Mauer (2-for-6) is the only Twin with multiple hits.
Road Woes: After a successful 6-4 homestand against some tough competition, the White Sox will head back on the road where they are a ML worst 18-41 (.305). The last road trip was the first time in franchise history that the White Sox had lost every game on a trip of at least seven games. They have lost nine straight on the road, with the last win coming in Philadelphia over a month ago. The last series win on the road was in Detroit, when they miraculously took two of three from the Tigers in early July. Our Sox are 2-4 in Minnesota this year, and were swept the last time in the Twin Cities.
New Faces: After going 2-for-9 with four strikeouts against the Twins to start his White Sox career, Avisail Garcia was 4-for-13 (.308) with a triple and three RBI in the series against his old club. He also drew a walk, scored two runs, and struck out once. Sox fans will be excited to see what Garcia can do over the course of the rest of this season. Also, Andre Rienzo will get his fourth start this series and is looking for his first Major League win. The young Brazilian has pitched decently, and the rest of this season might serve as a tryout for a permanent rotation spot next year. Josh Phegley also had a nice homestand, hitting an even .300 with a couple of RBI, while Jordan Danks had five hits in the Detroit series.
Twins Killing: Despite the Twins being one of the worst hitting teams in the league and the Sox being among the best pitching teams, Minnesota has feasted on Sox pitching this year. The Twins are hitting .271/.363/.490 against Sox, and the team’s .854 OPS is the highest any opponent. This is compared to Minny’s overall season totals of .242/.314/.386 with a .700 OPS. They have hit 21 of 115 home runs (18.2%) against the Sox in 12 games. The Sox need to figure out what most other teams in the league have in terms of how to get these guys out.