The Chicago White Sox have won five of their past seven series, a resurgent run that includes series victories against the first-place Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins.
As the Minnesota Twins arrive at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago for a three-game set beginning Tuesday night, the White Sox suddenly boast a brimming confidence they hope to sustain for the rest of the season.
“It’s not necessarily the outcomes, even though you want those good outcomes to occur,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s what they’re feeling in terms of what they’re capable of doing in certain moments. They’re starting to trust themselves a little bit more and able to execute and get through games.”
After taking two of three games from the Twins at Target Field to begin last week, Chicago returned home and captured three of four against the Texas Rangers, capping the weekend with a 2-0 victory in which five pitchers combined on a one-hitter.
Reynaldo Lopez started the game with five no-hit innings, lowering his second-half ERA to 2.82 after compiling a 6.34 mark in the first half.
While examples reside elsewhere, Lopez’s post-All-Star-break bounce-back mirrors the club’s improved play since the calendar turned to August.
“I think you can see the results,” Lopez said after Sunday’s game. “For us as a group, it’s a very good moment. I think we have been working for this throughout the whole season. Right now is probably the best moment for us of the season.”
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, who’s slated to start Tuesday’s series opener against the Twins, offered another prime contender for that designation in his most recent outing. Giolito (14-6, 3.20 ERA) dominated the Twins on Wednesday, striking out 12 and walking none in a three-hit shutout.
The All-Star called the start the “best I’ve ever felt pitching in my life,” and now gets a chance to see the same lineup six days later. Giolito is six strikeouts shy of 200 for the season as he prepares to face the Twins for the fourth time in 2019. He is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA against them this season and 4-4 with a 4.76 ERA over nine career starts.
Minnesota holds a 3 1/2-game lead on the Cleveland Indians for first place in the American League Central with 32 games to play.
The Twins have outscored opponents 86-62 during an 8-4 stretch entering the series.
“As a starting pitcher, we know that we’ve got some room for error and it’s our job to just go out there and keep it close and give the offense a chance to strike whenever they’re ready,” pitcher Kyle Gibson said.
Righty Michael Pineda (9-5, 4.26 ERA) will look to keep the White Sox in check for a fourth time this season. Pineda is 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three 2019 starts against Chicago, with 17 strikeouts in 20 innings. He has delivered a quality start on two of those occasions, helping the Twins to a 44-14 record when their starters work six innings or more and allow three earned runs or fewer.
Pineda is 4-3 with a 3.40 ERA in seven career starts against Chicago.
–Field Level Media
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