Twins-White Sox Preview
At one point last month, the Minnesota Twins were owners of the
worst record in the majors and trailed by 16 1/2 games in the AL
Thanks to a stunning turnaround, the Twins now have a chance to
contend for a third straight division title after the All-Star
break and will try to help themselves Sunday by adding to their
dominance over the Chicago White Sox.
Minnesota dropped to 17-37 following a 4-2 loss in Detroit on
June 1, but has since won 23 of 34 and is threatening to overtake
Chicago in the standings. The Twins (40-48) aided that cause by
rallying for a ninth straight win over the White Sox on Friday but
had that streak snapped with a 4-3 defeat the following day.
Chicago (44-47) scored in each of the final two innings with
Alexei Ramirez’s single driving home the game-winning run. Ramirez
also had a solo home run while helping the White Sox end a
“You hear about (the struggles against the Twins) and you read
about it. It starts to fester in there and then you get to a point
where you almost try too hard because you want to end it and then
it just snowballs,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “We finally
rallied and found a way in the last couple innings, which is
The Twins, who had claimed the first six matchups this season,
are 28-7 in the past 35 meetings with their AL Central rivals and
have won eight of 11 overall.
Anthony Swarzak (1-2, 3.71 ERA) will try to help Minnesota win a
fourth straight series while filling in for Scott Baker, who has a
strained right flexor muscle. Swarzak threw a pair of scoreless
innings against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, allowing one hit and one
“We had him basically going for (31 pitches), so he’ll be fine,”
manager Ron Gardenhire told the team’s official website.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts this
season, winning the previous one in Kansas City on June 2, and will
face the White Sox for the first time.
In its attempt to spoil Swarzak’s return to the rotation,
Chicago could use a better outing from Jake Peavy (4-2, 4.83).
The veteran right-hander has given up at least four runs in each
of his past two starts and allowed five over six innings while
taking the loss in a 5-3 defeat to Kansas City on Tuesday.
He gave up three of those runs in the second inning despite
yielding just one hit during that frame.
“Second inning, no excuses,” Peavy said. “I didn’t get some
close pitches. Obviously I didn’t have the command I normally have.
It cost us there.”
Peavy has no record and a 2.84 ERA in two starts against the
Twins and hasn’t faced them since June 24, 2008, with San
Joe Mauer is 0 for 3 with one strikeout against Peavy but is
hitting .489 (22 of 45) in his last 12 games at U.S. Cellular