2015-06-22

CHICAGO WHITE SOX (30-38) at MINNESOTA TWINS (37-32)



The Minnesota Twins look to continue their nice turn-around season when they host the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.



The White Sox made a ton of moves this offseason to compete within their tough division, but they have not paid off up to this point and come into this one with losses in eight of the last 10 games. The offense was putrid during the poor stretch, averaging 2.1 runs per game and had a streak of six defeats where they scored a total of six runs. Chicago was able to grab a rare series win over the weekend, though, when they hosted the Rangers, and after losing game one 2-1, were able to get two consecutive 3-2 victories. Sundays series clincher went 11 innings and with a two-hit game, 1B Jose Abreu (.288) continued a solid sophomore season as he comes into this one with a six-game hitting streak. The Twins already spent some of this year in first place of the AL Central and now sit 3.5-games behind the Royals after losing 11 of their last 16 contests. They played the last five games at home and were able to go 3-2 with two wins against the Cardinals followed by a 2-1 series loss at the hands of Cincinnati. Minnesota was outmatched in the rubber-match on Sunday, losing 8-0 with just four hits in the game. Top prospect OF Byron Buxton (.120) has not injected energy into this lineup like they were hoping as he has just one hit in the last five games (.067) with at least one strikeout in each of those performances. A couple of lefties will toe the rubber to start this divisional battle with LHP John Danks (3-7, 5.16 ERA) going for the Sox and LHP Tommy Milone (3-1, 3.67 ERA) for the host Twins. Chicago has been horrible when on the road with a record of 12-23 (.343) and that mark could get worse against a Minnesota group which is 23-14 (.622) at home. These two clubs have had plenty of experience against each other in recent years and the Twins hold a 28-20 (.583) advantage overall in that time, going 15-9 at home. This year theyve already played seven times and Minnesota has dominated with a 6-1 record, outscoring the White Sox 45-15. The Chicago has been solid as an underdog since 1997, going 618-757 (.449) with a moneyline of +100 or worse since then and the Twins are 16-10 (.615) against left-handed starters in 2015. Both teams are fairly healthy with the only omissions being OFs Jordan Schafer (Knee) and Aaron Hicks (Elbow) from Minnesota.



Danks has had a rocky career, all with the White Sox, but after failing to reach 30 starts from 2011-2013, he took the mound 32 times last year and posted a 4.74 ERA with 11 wins. He has gone backwards from there this season with his biggest problem being homers (1.32 HR/9) behind minimal groundballs (36.7percent GB). One area he has improved slightly in this year is strikeouts with his highest mark (6.4 K/9) since 2011 while also showing solid control (2.5 BB/9). His team has lost in five of his last six starts, with his only winning effort being a gem against the Astros when he threw a complete game shutout with six strikeouts (1 walk). Danks has had a rough go of things against the Twins in his career, going 7-14 (8-20 team record) with a 5.67 ERA (1.55 WHIP) and has allowed 14 runs (10 ER) in two losses over his past two goes against them. Veterans 1B Joe Mauer (23-for-60, 3 doubles, 9 RBI) and OF Torii Hunter (17-for-52, 2 doubles, 4 HR, 11 RBI) have teed off against him as C Kurt Suzuki is a meager 3-for-20 (.150) with a strikeout in the matchup. The relievers for Chicago have gone 11-11 with a 3.84 ERA (1.45 WHIP) and are 16-for-21 (76percent) in save chances. David Robertson (2.35 ERA, 14 saves) has four blown saves on the year while posting an amazing 42:5 K/BB ratio over 30.2 frames.



Milone has moved around quite a bit since coming to the big leagues in 2011 and is now with his third team in that time. Looking at Milones stats, it is hard to believe that he has done as well as he has with over 1.20 HR/9 in each of the last three years as he is on pace for his highest career mark in the category with eight long balls given up in his 41.2 innings (1.73 HR/9). He also does not possess the ability to get many strikeouts, mowing down a mere 5.6 batters per nine innings this season while benefitting from the opposition hitting a meager .246 against him. He has been great when facing Chicago in his career, taking them on five times with a 2-0 record (2-3 team record), 1.39 ERA (0.80 WHIP) and had a nice showing (7.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 7 K) in a win over them back in April. Nobody on the White Sox has done very well against the lefty with C Tyler Flowers (2-for-13) and 3B Gordon Beckham (3-for-11) each having a homer in the matchup while SS Alexei Ramirez, 1B Jose Abreu, DH Adam LaRoche and OF Adam Eaton are a combined 1-for-29 (.034) when batting against the 28-year-old. The bullpen for Minnesota has gone 11-10 with a 3.84 ERA (1.31 WHIP) and are 25-for-28 (89percent) in saves. Glen Perkins (1.48 ERA, 23 saves) has been phenomenal with no blown saves on the year and comes into this contest with 7.1 scoreless innings in his last seven outings, allowing four hits with a 7:1 K/BB ratio during the stretch.