Twins-White Sox: Not Much Offense Likely on South Side

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 5:20 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 2, 2018 5:20 PM UTC

The AL Central-rival Twins and White Sox start their first series of the season on the South Side of Chicago on Thursday night in what appears likely to be a low-scoring game.

Minnesota Twins (14-12 O/U) at Chicago White Sox (12-14-12 O/U)Free MLB Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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While some teams are playing their getaway games in cities to close out a series Thursday, the Twins and White Sox open a four-game set at Guaranteed Rate Field at 8:10 p.m. ET. It’s available on that new ESPN+ streaming service.

Chicago was supposed to play a four-game series in the Twin Cities from April 12-15 but the final three games of that set were wiped out due to wintry weather. The one game they played was a 4-0 Twins victory in the opener. One notable event from that was Joe Mauer getting his 2,000th career hit, just the third Twins player with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett to reach the mark.

Both of these teams are struggling. That was fully expected for the rebuilding White Sox, but Minnesota was a wild-card team last year. Could Manager Paul Molitor’s job be in some jeopardy soon? To be fair, his team has been hit hard by injuries, etc. Ace Ervin Santana still hasn’t pitched in 2018. Spectacular defensive center fielder Byron Buxton is on the DL and hasn’t played since April 17 due to a toe injury.

Third baseman Miguel Sano, an All-Star in 2017, joined Buxton on the DL Tuesday with a hamstring injury. Sano has been a huge disappointment in hitting just .213 with five homers. Back in the spring, starting shortstop Jorge Polanco was suspended 80 games for steroids. His replacement, Eduardo Escobar, has been pretty good at the plate but is terrible defensively. As of this writing, the Twins as a team are 27th in the majors with minus-11 defensive runs saved.

The Sox could be without red-hot second baseman Yoan Moncada after he left Wednesday's game with hamstring tightness.

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Probable Pitchers: Odorizzi vs. Lopez

Many around baseball thought the Twins stole pitcher Jake Odorizzi from Tampa Bay this past winter for a low-level prospect. It seemed like the Rays could have gotten much more. Odorizzi has been pretty solid this year with a 2-2 record, 3.94 ERA and .138 WHIP. Batters are hitting .231 against him – lefties just .214 even though the 28-year-old is a right-hander. He comes off a win over the Reds, allowing one run and five hits over six innings.

If there are two concerns, it’s Odorizzi’s 4.5 walks per nine innings rate and his career-high 2.0 HR/9 rate. He has surrendered seven homers in 32 innings as Odorizzi is a fly-ball pitcher. In his career, Odorizzi is 1-1 in three starts vs. the White Sox with a 3.50 ERA and 20 hits allowed in 18 innings. Chicago’s Jose Abreu is 2-for-8 off him with a walk. Tim Anderson is 0-for-2. The only Chicago batter to homer off him is Avisail Garcia, and he’s on the DL.

Chicago’s Reynaldo Lopez, 24, has been the best piece back from Washington the Adam Eaton trade thus far. He’s among the AL leaders with a 1.78 ERA but is 0-2 because of no run support. In his first four starts, the Pale Hose totaled four runs scored. Last time out vs. the Royals, Lopez allowed four runs (two earned) and a season-high 10 hits over 6.1 innings but Chicago actually won that game. Batters are hitting just .204 off him, but Lopez has a 1.22 WHIP thanks to 15 walks.

This will be Lopez’s first-ever look at the Twins, although one has seen him: Logan Morrison, who is 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs. Morrison is a lefty, who are hitting .263 vs. Lopez in 2018 compared to .171 by right-handers.

  • Under is 6-1-1 in White Sox’s last 8 vs. American League Central.
  • Under is 5-0 in Twins’ last 5 vs. American League Central.
  • Under is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings.

Two pretty solid starting pitchers and two of the six lowest-scoring offenses in baseball here. No Sano, probably no Moncada. Sounds like an ‘under’ play for a Thursday MLB pick.

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