White Sox seek first four-game win streak of season vs. Twins
Chicago (28-51) is coming off back-to-back wins by margins of 8-4 and 6-1 over the Twins in the series’ first two games. The White Sox have won three straight, including a 10-3 decision over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.
A win Thursday would give the White Sox their longest win streak of the season.
Minnesota (34-42) is hoping to salvage a win in the series and turn around a tough week for the club. The Twins have dropped two in a row and five of their past six to fall eight games below .500, which is tied with their low-water mark for the season.
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (5-7, 7.01 ERA) will try to build upon his recent improvement in his 16th start of the season. The highly touted 23-year-old has struggled badly with command this year, but has 14 strikeouts and only four walks in his past two outings.
Giolito is 1-2 with a 4.42 ERA in three career starts against Minnesota. Two of those starts took place this season, with the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder posting a 1-1 record with a 3.65 ERA.
Lately, Giolito has found success by not thinking so much about his pitching mechanics.
“It’s been kind of a long road to figure that out,” Giolito said to his team’s official website. “But I’m definitely in a much better place right now with that, just letting it flow. The key words are let it flow. Just go out there and be athletic. …
“It’s like the desire to be as good as I can be to the point where I’ve overanalyzed things and been like, ‘What am I doing wrong? What should I fix? What can I fix?’
“I’m doing that instead of being like, ‘Hey, I’m here, I’m going to compete and let it all happen and just be athletic and let what I’ve been doing for years take over.'”
The Twins will counter with right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.97 ERA) for his 17th start of the season. The Illinois native has 80 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings this season, but his walk rate (4.1 per nine innings) is the highest since his rookie campaign in 2012 with the Kansas City Royals.
Odorizzi is 1-2 with a 4.13 ERA in five career starts against the White Sox. He has an 0-1 record with a 5.23 ERA (six earned runs in 10 1/3 innings) in two starts against Chicago this season.
Avisail Garcia has homered in back-to-back games for the White Sox and could pose a challenge for Odorizzi, who has given up 14 long balls this year. Jose Abreu also is coming off a much better day at the plate in which he slammed his 12th home run and showed signs of breaking out of a slump.
For the Twins, Ehire Adrianza carries a hot bat into the series finale. He went 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI on Wednesday night, elevating his season average to .264 with four homers and 17 RBIs.
Chicago is 16-26 at home; Minnesota is 14-22 on the road.
After the game, the Twins will stay in Chicago and head about 8 miles north to take on the Cubs in a weekend series. Minnesota is 6-6 in interleague action compared with a 28-36 record against AL teams.