The Chicago White Sox will go for their season-high fifth win in a row when they host the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night in the second installment of a three-game series.
Chicago is coming off a 9-3 win over Minnesota in the series opener Tuesday night. Yasmani Grandal smacked a three-run homer and Jose Abreu hit a two-run shot in the victory.
A deep starting rotation continues to lead the way for the White Sox. The group includes a trio of right-handers — Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn and Dylan Cease — to go along with southpaws Carlos Rodon and Dallas Keuchel.
“This is what we envisioned,” Keuchel said. “Even last year, hoping Rodon and Cease (would take) that step forward. They have been nothing short of spectacular. You’re only as good as your next day’s starter.”
For Wednesday, that means Keuchel (1-1, 3.79 ERA), who will make his eighth start of the season. The 33-year-old has 91 career victories with a 3.60 ERA in 10 seasons with the Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves and Chicago.
In eight career games (seven starts) against the Twins, Keuchel has a 4-3 record with a 3.12 ERA. He has 18 walks and 38 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings.
Keuchel is looking for his first victory since April 18 against the Boston Red Sox. Despite a strong start to the season, the veteran has five no-decisions in his first seven outings.
Minnesota will counter with another crafty left-hander who has been great to start the season. J.A. Happ (2-0, 1.91 ERA) is slated to make his sixth start.
Happ, 38, owns a career record of 125-92 with a 3.95 ERA in 329 games (303 starts). He was born and raised a couple hours west of Chicago in Peru, Ill., and played collegiately at Northwestern, about 20 miles north of where the White Sox play.
This will be Happ’s ninth career start against the White Sox. In his previous eight outings, he is 4-3 with a 5.05 ERA. He has 14 walks and 51 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings.
In his past three games, Happ has allowed only three runs on nine hits in 19 2/3 innings for a sparkling 1.37 ERA.
The Twins have slipped nine games under .500 but remain optimistic that they can turn things around.
“We know we haven’t been playing like we want to be playing,” Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. “But all we can do is learn from our mistakes and keep doing what we’re doing well. And whatever we haven’t been doing, if it’s making a play or locking in an at-bat or making a pitch, we’ve got to do a better job of it starting right now.”
Meanwhile, White Sox manager Tony La Russa is happy for his team’s success but knows that a long road awaits.
“Whichever way this series goes, it doesn’t say anything about what’s going to happen in the second half of the season,” La Russa said. “Just right now, we have something going, and the Twins are in our way.”
–Field Level Media