MINNEAPOLIS — With Chicago owning the worst record in the American League, it is safe to say 2017 is a rebuilding year for the White Sox.
Yet as the final month of the season approaches, Chicago manager Rick Renteria sees a team for his young players to emulate.
It just so happens to be the club the White Sox are facing as they continue a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
Minnesota is holding onto the second spot in the American League wild-card race, only one year after finishing with the worst record in team history (59-103). The Twins managed to turn things around quickly thanks in part to the maturation of young talent, something Renteria hopes can happen with his club as well.
“I think when you’re in the same division and you’re competing against them, you’ve got to have a measuring stick as to what you’ve got to do or what you’re going to have to try to adjust to,” Renteria said of the Twins. “They’ve certainly given us something to look at.”
Minnesota, meanwhile, has reaped the benefits of its young talent all maturing at the same time. That includes center fielder Byron Buxton — recently named the American League Player of the Week — as well as players such as Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario.
Polanco hit a pair of home runs Tuesday to lift the Twins to a 6-4 victory in the series opener. Seven of his nine home runs this season have come against the White Sox.
The fact that those young players are finding their groove simultaneously is providing a big boost to the Twins (68-63).
“I think we talked a lot early in the year about progression of young talent and how it’s very rarely all on the same pace,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “They kind of have to go through their growing pains sometimes at different lengths. They’ve all had a nice little resurgence here in the second half in particular.
“It’s been great for us that it’s happened somewhat simultaneously because collectively it’s made us a lot more dangerous club offensively.”
Another young talent who has made steps in the right direction is right-hander Jose Berrios, who gets the start Wednesday for Minnesota.
It will be the second time in as many outings that Berrios (11-6, 4.04 ERA) will face the White Sox. He gave up five runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings in a 5-1 loss Thursday at Chicago. Berrios has pitched against the White Sox three times in his young career, going 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA.
Chicago (52-78) will counter with veteran Derek Holland (7-13, 6.05 ERA).
Holland allowed one run in six innings while earning the win opposite Berrios last week. The veteran lefty also appeared in relief to face four Twins batters prior to his last start, meaning Wednesday will be his third straight outing against Minnesota.
In 13 career games (12 starts) versus the Twins, Holland is 3-6 with a 5.29 ERA.
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