The White Sox continue their homestand this weekend with an elongated four game set with the Minnesota Twins that includes a Friday double header that we will highlight here. The Sox are coming off a surprising sweep of the New York Yankees after a thrilling walk off win in extra innings. The Twins lost two of three to the Royals in Kansas City after sweeping the Astros at home. The Sox are just 2-6 against the Twinkies this year.
Friday Pitching Matchups
The matinee matchup in the double header will have Kyle Gibson (2-3, 6.69 ERA) taking on John Danks (2-9, 4.52 ERA).
Gibson will be making his 8th start of the season for the Twins Friday afternoon. The 25 year old is in his first season of big league action after being the Twins first round pick back in 2009. After a solid debut against the Royals it has been a bit of a struggle for Gibson. He has had just one quality start since his debut and has allowed 4 or more runs in 4 of his last 6 starts. He has also not worked more than 6 innings in any start this season. Opposing batters are hitting .325 against Kyle Gibson this year. This will be the first time the Sox get a look at the young right hander.
John Danks will head back to the mound looking for his first win since July 2nd. In his 6 starts since then he is 0-4 with a 4.69 ERA and has allowed 9 home runs in 40.1 IP (2.02/9 innings). He does have 4 quality starts out of those 6 starts though with a couple poor starts thrown in. Last time out Danks pitched pretty well, going 7 innings and allowing 3 runs on 6 hits with 1 walk and 6 K’s but he allowed 3 solo homers. It was the 3rd time in 14 starts that he allowed 3 or more homers. The other problem Danks has had is a lack of run support as he currently ranks 2nd in the Majors to his teammate Chris Sale with just 2.76 runs of support per start. Danks made one start against the Twins so far this season and it did not go well, he allowed 6 runs on 12 hits (4 HRs) in 5 innings of work back on June 20th.
The night game will feature Liam Hendricks (0-1, 4.66 ERA) for the Twins and Charlie Leesman (0-0, 0.00 ERA) making his Major League debut for the White Sox.
Hendricks will be making his 3rd start of the season and first since April 10th. He has been pitching at AAA Rochester and is 3-8 with a 5.12 ERA in 14 starts. The 24 year old Australian right-hander started 16 games for the Twins last season and was 1-8 with a 5.59 ERA. He made his Major League debut against the White Sox back in September of 2011 and went 7 innings giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and took the loss. He also made one start against the Sox last season and he went 6.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and once again took the loss. He is 0-2 with a 4.05 ERA but just a .975 WHIP against the Sox. Alex Rios is 3-for-6 with 2 home runs against Hendricks.
Charlie Leesman will finally get a shot in the Majors after spending parts of the last six years in the White Sox minor leagues. In 2 years at AAA Charlotte Leesman is 15-11 with a 2.82 ERA in 39 starts. This year he is 3-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts after missing the early part of the season with an injury. The 26-year-old southpaw will need to keep the walks down if he wants to stick in the big leagues he is walking 3.8 batters per 9 innings this year and 3.9 per 9 in his minor league career. He is striking out almost 8 batters per 9 innings this year so that has helped him maintain a 2.06 K/BB ratio. Opposing batters are hitting .263/.341/.402 against Leesman this year in AAA. Most people project Leesman as a lefty out of the bullpen but he has been a starter throughout his minor league career so it will be interesting to see how he performs.
So there are the matchups for the double-header on Friday, with three of the four pitchers having made a combined 29 major league starts it could be a taxing day for the bullpens. The Sox will hope to continue their winning streak against a very beatable Minnesota team.