Preview: Twins at White Sox
The Minnesota Twins own baseball’s most wins over left-handed starters and already hammered Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale once this year.
The Twins will face Sale for the third time Saturday as they try to even this three-game series in Chicago.
Minnesota (23-18) is 13-5 against left-handers, entering the weekend third in the majors with a .290 average against them.
The usually tough Sale (3-1, 4.36 ERA) is allowing left-handed hitters to bat .364 against him. He is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts against the Twins this year.
Most of that damage came the last time he saw them. Sale was tagged for a career-worst nine runs over three innings that matched his shortest ever start in a 12-2 road loss April 30.
Brian Dozier went 2 for 3 against him in that game with a homer – his third off Sale in 25 at-bats. He’s the only player ever to take Sale deep while wearing a Minnesota uniform. Joe Mauer is 3 for 6 off Sale this year and Danny Santana 3 for 5.
Sale has looked more like himself in his last two outings, going 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 16 innings. He gave up a run in eight innings in Monday’s 2-1, 10-inning win over Cleveland.
He is 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA in four career home starts versus the Twins.
Minnesota’s Trevor May (2-3, 5.15) was the beneficiary of the massive run support the last time his club faced Sale and will duel once again with the southpaw. May improved to 3-0 with a 4.32 ERA in three career starts against Chicago (19-20) after yielding two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
The right-hander hasn’t won since, going 0-2 with a 6.06 ERA in his last three outings. May surrendered three runs over 6 2/3 innings last Saturday in a 6-4 win over Tampa Bay.
May could face a couple of tough matchups Saturday. Jose Abreu is 4 for 9 against him and the White Sox star is batting .318 during a 17-game hitting streak that is four shy of his career high.
Avisail Garcia, who is 3 for 8 against May, hopes to return after he was scratched from Friday’s 3-2 victory because of inflammation in his right knee.
"Avi, he just felt some discomfort in that knee again and (we’re) just playing it cautious with him," manager Robin Ventura said. "We’ll see how he feels tomorrow."
J.B. Shuck took his place and went 2 for 3 with the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth inning as the White Sox ended a three-game slide and improved to 9-4 in one-run games.
"Shuck, this is part of having a guy that knows how to play the game and compete," Ventura said. "He had a great game tonight."
Dozier, Santana and Torii Hunter combined to go 1 for 11 with no RBI on Friday. That trio entered the contest batting .357 with 15 RBI in the season series.
The Twins have won five of eight meetings, with the home team winning seven times.
The White Sox will retire Paul Konerko’s No. 14 before the contest. The slugger is second in club history in homers (432), RBI (1,383) and games (2,268).