White Sox-Twins Preview
Even in winning, Chicago's most recent contest was a microcosm of the young season, as its struggling offense continues to have a difficult time providing run support for a solid pitching staff.
Hector Santiago may be the newest member of the starting rotation, but even he isn't immune to that fact.
Chris Sale took a perfect game into the seventh inning and finished with a one-hitter in Sunday's 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, though Chicago also failed to score through six innings.
Alexei Ramirez went 3 for 4 and hit a two-run single as the White Sox (15-20) scored all their runs in the seventh to avoid a three-game sweep.
Chicago hasn't scored more than seven runs in a game, has the fewest hits (265) and worst on-base percentage (.280) in the majors and ranks last in the AL in batting average (.227) and runs (120).
Adam Dunn is hitting .321 over his last 14 games versus Minnesota, but his 0-for-4 performance Sunday dropped his average to .137 - tied with Twins rookie Aaron Hicks for the worst in baseball among qualifiers.
"It's one of those (situations that) you need a (pitcher) that can go out and put together a game like (Sunday to) give you a chance,'' manager Robin Ventura said.
The White Sox are getting plenty of solid pitching and rank second in the AL with a 3.40 team ERA. Santiago (1-1, 1.69 ERA) has done his part, making two solid starts since being moved into the rotation to replace the injured Gavin Floyd, who is out for the season following elbow surgery.
Santiago gave up one run and two hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 3-1 win over Texas on May 2 before allowing four hits and striking out eight through seven frames of Chicago's 1-0, 10-inning loss to the New York Mets on Tuesday. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA while averaging 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings in six career starts.
Santiago's first career start came against the Twins on Sept. 3, giving up one run and three hits while striking out six in five innings of a 4-2 victory. However, he allowed the game-winning run while coming out of the bullpen in Chicago's 2-1, 10-inning loss on April 20.
The Twins then swept the two-game road series as Josh Willingham drove in three runs in a 5-3 victory the following day. Willingham, though, is just 1 for his last 18 for an offense that hopes get back on track after falling 6-0 to Baltimore on Sunday.
Joe Mauer went 2 for 3, has 10 doubles in his last seven games and is hitting .444 (20 for 45) during an 11-game hitting streak for the Twins (17-17), who had won four of five.
"Through a 162-game season, you're going to have one of those games where you don't get runners on board and you don't score them," said third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who is 3 for 17 over his last four.
Minnesota will look to bounce back with help from Hernandez (1-1, 5.96), who was acquired from the White Sox on July 29 in the Francisco Liriano deal after making one start for Chicago.
The left-hander has struggled since picking up his first career victory against Texas on April 27 and was tagged for six runs and seven hits in two innings of the Twins' 15-8 win at Boston on Wednesday.
Minnesota has lost five straight and 13 of its last 16 home meetings with Chicago.