Twins-White Sox Preview
The veteran owns nearly six times as many career starts compared to the other three scheduled starters as the AL Central's worst teams open a four-game set in Chicago.
These once-proud franchises combined for nine division titles between 2000-10, but their 11 remaining 2013 matchups will be meaningless.
The Twins have taken six of the first eight meetings and have to like their chances in the opener versus Danks (2-9, 4.52 ERA), who is 0-4 with a 6.00 ERA in his last five outings against them. He gave up six runs and a season-high 12 hits over five innings of an 8-4 defeat to Minnesota on June 20.
The White Sox (43-69) have lost four straight starts by the left-hander, who has pitched in 173 games. Chicago's Charlie Leesman will make his major league debut in the nightcap while the Twins will turn to Kyle Gibson (2-3, 6.69) in Game 1 and Liam Hendriks (0-1, 4.66) at night, with those pitchers combining for 29 starts.
Minnesota (49-62) could be called upon to use its bullpen extensively based on how those right-handers have fared.
Gibson, who has never faced Chicago, hasn't made it past the fifth inning in his last two starts. He gave up four runs over three in a 6-4 victory over Houston on Saturday.
Hendriks, optioned to Triple-A Rochester on April 13 after two starts with the Twins, will be recalled Friday. He owns a 5.14 ERA in 14 outings with the Red Wings.
"He's been up here before," assistant general manager Rob Antony told the Twins' official website. "And we don't have a lot of options to be honest."
The Twins will also be short a catcher since they are expected to place Ryan Doumit on the seven-day disabled list with a suspected concussion. Doumit exited Wednesday's 5-2 defeat in Kansas City in the fourth inning.
Joe Mauer and Chris Herrmann will likely split duties behind the plate Friday. Mauer is a .392 hitter against Danks and has batted .424 versus Chicago this year.
The Twins have a 10-11 mark against left-handed starters as they get ready to face two in Danks and Leesman. Leesman, an 11th-round draft pick in 2008, has posted a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts at Triple-A Charlotte.
"We get good reports on Charlie, and let's see what we got," manager Robin Ventura told the White Sox's official website.
Minnesota outfielder Josh Willingham, out since June 30 with a torn meniscus in his left knee, is expected to be activated for the second game.
Both teams have enjoyed some recent success. The Twins have won four of six while the White Sox swept a three-game home set from the New York Yankees this week following a 10-game skid.
Chicago was down to its last out twice in Wednesday's 6-5, 12-inning win, which was capped by Alejandro De Aza's two-run triple.
"We played the game fun the last three days, it was a good time and guys competed well and we've got to try to make ourselves do that every time out there," said slugger Paul Konerko, 11 for 24 against the Twins this year.
Adam Dunn has five homers and 10 RBIs in the season series.