White Sox-Twins Preview
The White Sox look to win their sixth straight against the Twins on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.
Chicago swept Minnesota at home last week as it climbed back atop the AL Central, but while the teams went their separate ways over the weekend, the White Sox (55-46) made a deal behind the scenes to add Francisco Liriano to the rotation Saturday - the first trade between the division rivals since 1986.
Liriano is scheduled to face his former team Tuesday.
The White Sox's sweep of Minnesota last week came after being swept in three games at Detroit. They head into Minnesota looking to bounce back again after losing 2-0 to Texas on Sunday.
Chicago won the first two games of the series against the Rangers, but didn't provide any help Sunday for starter Gavin Floyd, who gave up two runs - one earned - while pitching into the seventh. The team went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
"Again, you can't hang your hat, taking two of three from one of the best teams, if not the best team in the American League, at home," Adam Dunn told the White Sox's official website. "We definitely wanted to come in and sweep them, but we're still playing very well. A couple of mental things, but we had our chances. We couldn't capitalize."
The offense has had little trouble against the Twins, averaging 6.8 runs while winning seven of nine. Alex Rios has homered six times in those nine games and Paul Konerko has gone deep four times while batting .517 (15 for 29) in the season series.
Chicago also expects to have catcher A.J. Pierzynski back after he missed his fifth straight game Sunday with a strained oblique.
Minnesota (43-58) recovered from its series in Chicago by sweeping Cleveland, closing the three-game series with a 5-1 victory Sunday.
The Twins outscored the Indians 28-6 in the series, a nice turnaround after giving up 26 to the White Sox.
"Definitely a good feeling, coming out of Chicago where we just got swept,'' Denard Span said. "It starts with starting pitching. They give us an opportunity offensively to do some things. We can be aggressive on the base paths.''
Jose Quintana (4-1, 2.58 ERA) and Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.64) will face off for the second time in less than a week Monday.
De Vries gave up two runs - one earned - in six innings against the White Sox last Tuesday, but his bullpen failed to protect the lead in an 11-4 loss. Chicago's hitters bailed out Quintana, who gave up two homers to Josh Willingham and four runs overall in 6 1-3 innings.
Willingham, who leads the Twins with 27 homers, has four in his last five games but is 4 for 33 against Chicago this season.
The White Sox haven't won six in a row during one season versus the Twins since 2003.