A day after two young pitchers dueled for five strong innings, the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins will send their respective aces to the mound.
Minnesota right-hander Ervin Santana (2-0, 0.69 ERA) will start Saturday’s afternoon affair and will be matched up against Chicago left-hander Jose Quintana (0-2, 6.17 ERA) in Minneapolis.
The two offenses were held in check by rookies Dylan Covey of the White Sox and Adalberto Mejia of the Twins on Friday as the White Sox won their third straight game, 2-1, on a homer by Matt Davidson in the seventh inning off reliever Ryan Pressly.
“It’s been going good,” said Davidson, who is getting regular playing time with Chicago and homered for the second straight day. “Just glad we could be pulling these wins out. Three in a row, so just got to keep it going.”
Davidson was once a top prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he had received just one game in the majors the previous three seasons. He made Chicago’s opening-day lineup and has been a vital piece of the offense while hitting .364 in seven games.
Davidson started at third base on Friday because Todd Frazier has dealt with flu-like symptoms. Frazier returned to the lineup on Friday as the designated hitter after missing two games.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria appreciates Davidson’s production as he works through a constantly changing lineup in the season’s early going.
“You can get pretty excited about him. He hit a homer the other day, he hits the homer today,” Renteria said. “But you’ve got to take a collective view of everybody that you have and the things that they’re doing. Fortunately for us, he had a very good result putting us ahead in that ballgame; did a nice job defensively also. So, we’re going to continue to get everybody in there and move them around.”
One constant on a young Chicago squad should be Quintana. Often named as a possible trade candidate, Quintana has had an ERA no higher than 3.51 the past four seasons.
Quintana gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings in the White Sox’s opener but recovered with a better outing last week at home against Minnesota. He pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed two earned runs. He has limited opponents to a .222 average this season.
He has a career record against the Twins of 6-7 with a 4.09 ERA in 19 starts.
Santana has been sharp. He earned the win last week in a matchup with Quintana, pitching six scoreless innings on two hits and two walks.
Santa is 9-8 with a 3.66 ERA in 23 career appearances, including 22 starts, against the White Sox.
The Twins’ offense couldn’t muster much against Covey and Chicago’s bullpen after scoring 11 runs at Detroit on Thursday to finish a road trip.
“Momentum, you know how long it lasts and what’s going to happen the next day,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “A little bit of a similar lineup, at least at the top, tonight. You’re hoping those things start to flow but it’s kind of unpredictable.”
One key aspect for the Twins’ offense this year has been the walk. Minnesota has taken 48 walks this season. The Twins entered Friday with the most base on balls in the American League and second in the majors before being walked four times by White Sox pitchers on Friday.
Miguel Sano walked twice on Friday and has reached base in every game this season.