The Minnesota Twins are back in town for a four-game set from Thursday to Sunday. The White Sox are 0-4 against Minnesota already this season and have scored a paltry THREE (3) total runs in those four games – shutout twice, one of those a no-hitter.
The Sox are treading water at 43-45, trailing division-leading Cleveland by 4.5 games. The ever-dangerous Twins are eight games off the pace at 38-47, but in far better shape than they were a little over a month ago. Minnesota is 21-10 since June 1, when it owned the worst record in baseball and trailed the Indians by 16.5 games.
The White Sox need a split at the very least to retain any momentum going into the All-Star break. After the break the Sox have a devastating schedule:
@ Detroit for 3 games
@ KC for 3
@ Cleveland for 3
vs DET for 3
vs Boston for 3
vs Yankees for 4
@ Minnesota for 3
Suffice to say, the White Sox can easily play themselves out of contention if they continue to perform as they have been. The bullpen has been fantastic and the starting pitching has been above average, but the offense continues to struggle to find its groove.
Phil Humber (8-4, 2.69 ERA) and Carl Pavano (5-6, 4.19) usher in the series Thursday evening. Humber has yet to face his former team this year and has a chance to set the tone for the series if he can get some run support, but Pavano tossed a complete game a few weeks back against the Sox, allowing just one run on six hits.
Gavin Floyd (6-8, 4.17) and Nick Blackburn (6-6, 4.02) face off Friday, Mark Buehrle (6-5, 3.66) matches up against Brian Duensing (6-7, 4.25) Saturday and Jake Peavy (4-2, 4.83) tries to rebound from a bad outing against the Royals against Anthony Swarzak (1-2, 3.71) in the series finale on Sunday.
The Twins have a mental edge since they’ve owned the Sox for the last couple years – this is not only a chance for the White Sox to change that, but they can also turn their season around and start looking like the $125 million all-in machine Kenny Williams intended for them to be.
But first they need to score some runs.