Thursday's MLB Picks for the White Sox vs. Twins Matchup

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:22 PM GMT

At this point in the season, the White Sox and Twins are simply playing to avoid finishing last in the American League Central. Minnesota opened as a -153 favorite on MLB odds for Thursday's opener of a four-game series at Target Field.

Both Teams Are Sellers
The MLB trade deadline is one week from today and there's no question the Pale Hose and Twins are among the few sellers. For sure available on the White Sox are lefty starting pitcher John Danks and second baseman Gordon Beckham. The Sox would love the savings trading Danks would bring as he's owed around $33 million total through the 2016 season. The Yankees have been looking at him. Beckham has never lived up to his promise and is in a major funk of late. Chicago's top minor-league prospect is second baseman Micah Johnson so Beckham really has no future on the South Side. All-Star shortstop Alexei Ramirez and outfielder Dayan Viciedo also could be had, but GM Rick Hahn isn't in as much of a hurry there. The Mariners have been rumored on Viciedo since the spring. He's a decent power hitter, batting .236 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs and is still only 25. Viciedo sat out Wednesday's game with tightness in his left lower hamstring so he might not play this game or a few more.

As for Minnesota, it will absolutely take offers on outfielder Josh Willingham, right-hander Kevin Correia, designated hitter Kendrys Morales and catcher Kurt Suzuki. Willingham is hitting only .212 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs but he missed about a month and a half due to injury. In his last fully healthy season, Willingham hit 35 home runs for the Twins in 2012. The Twins signed Morales, somewhat surprisingly, in early June to a prorated $12 million contract. He hasn't been very good with a .234 average and one home run, but he has shown some decent pop in past. The Twins would take a bag of balls just to get his salary off the books. The Twins would 100 percent take offers on first baseman Joe Mauer, but no team in baseball will touch that salary as Mauer is owed $23 million a season through 2018. That contract is a huge albatross for the small-market Twins as Mauer is nowhere near the former batting champion he was. He's hitting only .271 with two homers this season and is on the DL with an oblique injury. That's probably one of the Top 5 most untradeable contracts in the game. Maybe No. 1. It wouldn't be quite as terrible if Mauer could still catch, but those days are in the past.

 

Probable Pitchers
It's lefty Hector Noesi (4-7, 5.21) for the White Sox. He's just 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA on the road this year. He pitched at Target Field on June 20 as a +136 underdog on MLB odds and got a no-decision, allowing four runs and six hits over seven innings. Chicago has lost his past five road outings. Morales will be happy to see him as Morales is 3-for-7 career off Noesi with two home runs and four RBIs. Brian Dozier is 2-for-6 with a solo homer off Noesi. Willingham is 2-for-10 with an RBI.

Right-hander Phil Hughes takes the hill for Minnesota. Hughes (10-6, 4.06) has largely been a pleasant surprise. However, he has been hit hard his past two starts, allowing a combined 10 runs and 21 hits over 12 innings. Hughes' ERA this month is 5.96. The last time he saw the White Sox, Hughes allowed five runs and eight hits over five innings on June 22 but did get the win at home. Sox star rookie Jose Abreu is 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs off Hughes. Moises Sierra probably starts for Viciedo again (as he did Wednesday) considering Sierra is 8-for-16 career off Hughes with a home run and five RBIs.

Check Out the AL's Starting Pitchers with Top Betting Value!

Season Series
The Twins lead 5-2 and swept four games at Target Field from June 19-22. It was Minnesota's first four-game sweep of Chicago June 9-12, 1994. Suzuki leads all Twins hitters against the White Sox this season with a .520 average (13-for-25 with four doubles) and six RBIs. Alejandro De Aza has done plenty of damage for Chicago against Twins pitching, going 9-for-25 with three home runs, four RBIs and six runs scored. Abreu has a homer and nine RBIs.

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MLB Free Picks
White Sox +143 on MLB odds and the 'over' 8.5 runs at sportsbooks. Neither pitcher is going all that well right now so it could be a shootout. The Twins are 1-7 in their past eight series openers. The Sox have won four of their past five Game 1s. Minnesota is 2-5 in Hughes' past seven against teams with a losing record.