Chicago White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada knows he is capable of excellence at the big league level.
But the 23-year-old admits that his confidence has wavered at times during an up-and-down sophomore campaign. Moncada flashed his talent with a career-high six RBIs in his most recent game, and he hopes to build on that success Tuesday night as Chicago welcomes the Minnesota Twins to open a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Every time you are passing through a rough moment, you have doubts,” Moncada said through an interpreter in comments posted on the team’s official website. “You have questions. But when you keep working hard, you can answer those questions. For me, that was it.
“I had a few moments with doubts and questions why things weren’t going my way. But I keep trying. I’m just working hard and hopefully the good results are keeping for a long time.”
Collectively, Chicago (26-51) is trying to stay positive despite a disappointing first half. The White Sox are coming off a series split against the Oakland Athletics and have won or tied five of their past six series at home.
Meanwhile, Minnesota (34-40) will go for back-to-back wins after posting a 2-0 victory over the Texas Rangers in Sunday’s series finale. The shutout win offered a breath of fresh air for the Twins, who had surrendered 26 runs in their previous three games.
Twins infielder Eduardo Escobar is one of several batters who have provided run support for the starting staff. Escobar ranks first in the majors with 33 doubles in 71 games. He is hitting .293 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs.
“God gave me this talent, so I just go out there and swing hard and that’s what’s happening,” Escobar recently told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I like to swing hard.”
That could make for compelling drama against White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (2-5, 3.59 ERA), who throws hard. Lopez will make his 16th start of the season and the 30th of his young career.
In his most recent outing, Lopez struggled in a 12-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians. He gave up five runs (four earned) and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. He also walked four and struck out six.
It marked the fifth time this season that Lopez has walked at least four batters. The 24-year-old will look for better command in his third appearance against the Twins. He is 0-0 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 2/3 innings against the club.
For the Twins, right-hander Lance Lynn (5-5, 4.64) is set to make his 15th start. The former St. Louis Cardinals hurler struggled badly after signing a free-agent deal just before the start of the season, but he has settled down remarkably in the past month. He is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA (seven earned runs in 36 1/3 innings) in his past six starts.
In four career starts against the White Sox, Lynn is 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA. The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder has walked three and struck out 33 in 25 1/3 innings.
Minnesota has a 6-3 edge over Chicago in the season series. The Twins have outscored the White Sox 44-32.
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