After finishing its longest road trip of the season with a winning record and the team’s first series victory at Houston since 2014, the Minnesota Twins return home to Minneapolis to begin a nine-game homestand on Monday against the Chicago White Sox.
Twins right-hander Beau Burrows (0-0, 11.00 ERA), a first-round pick by Detroit in 2015 who was claimed off waivers from the Tigers on June 22, will make his first career start in an opener’s roll. Left-hander Charlie Barnes (0-2, 6.23 ERA) expected to fill the bulk role.
Burrows is 0-0 with a 13.50 in two career appearances against Chicago.
The White Sox, coming in after a three-game series sweep of the host Chicago Cubs, will counter with Lucas Giolito (8-8, 3.98 ERA). The right-hander is 6-7 with a 4.73 ERA in 15 career starts against the Twins, including 4-2 with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts at Target Field.
The Twins finished their nine-game road trip with a 5-4 record after taking three of four games from American League West leader Houston. The series was capped by a 7-5 Minnesota victory on Sunday afternoon as Jorge Polanco continued his hot hitting with two home runs and four RBIs.
Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli hopes his club can build on that momentum in a difficult homestand that features three games against the AL Central-leading White Sox followed by three games against AL East-leading Tampa Bay and three games against the Indians.
“I hope this road trip right now, especially this past series, sets our tone for the rest of this year,” Baldelli said. “I think this is a good series to continue to look back on and build off of.”
Baldelli called winning the series from the Astros “awesome,” especially coming on the heels of trades that sent away popular veterans such as Nelson Cruz and Jose Berrios.
“The way our guys went out there and competed out there all series, really the entire road trip, was exactly what we were looking for,” Baldelli said.
Polanco has hit 11 home runs since July 1 while posting an impressive .963 OPS. He has 20 homers this season.
“I don’t know what to say other than he is really feeling it at the plate,” Baldelli said. “The quality of at-bats is just very, very high across the board. … When he’s getting a mistake, he’s really hammering it.”
Chicago has dominated the season series with Minnesota this season. The White Sox are 12-4 against the Twins, including 4-2 at Target Field.
Chicago got first-inning homers from Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez and Andrew Vaughn while jumping out to a 5-0 lead and then cruising to a 9-3 victory over the Cubs on Sunday night to clinch the series sweep. Jimenez finished 3-for-4 with two homers, a double and five RBIs.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said before the game that center fielder Luis Robert, the 2020 runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year and a Gold Glove winner, will be back in the starting lineup on Monday night.
Robert has been sidelined since sustaining a right hip flexor tear while beating out an infield single in the first inning of a 5-0 home loss to Cleveland on May 2.
“Guys are fired up,” La Russa said of Robert’s return. “We’re all fired up.”
As for Robert’s playing time, the manager said, “When you actually play in the major leagues, there’s a stress level there and a determination to dig a little deeper, so we have to be really careful there.”
–Field Level Media