||Posted: 02-Jan-19 05:39
||The Chicago White Sox have a chance to complete their first three-game sweep of the season when they face the Minnesota Twins in the series finale Thursday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Chicago (28-51) is coming off back-to-back wins by margins of 8-4 and 6-1 over the Twins in the series’ first two games. The White Sox have won three straight [url=http://www.ramsfootballauthentics.com/joseph-noteboom-jersey-authenti
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A win Thursday would give the White Sox their longest win streak of the season.
Minnesota (34-42) is hoping to salvage a win in the series and turn around a tough week for the club. The Twins have dropped two in a row and five of their past six to fall eight games below .500, which is tied with their low-water mark for the season.
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (5-7, 7.01 ERA) will try to build upon his recent improvement in his 16th start of the season. The highly touted 23-year-old has struggled badly with command this year, but has 14 strikeouts and only four walks in his past two outings.
Giolito is 1-2 with a 4.42 ERA in three career starts against Minnesota. Two of those starts took place this season, with the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder posting a 1-1 record with a 3.65 ERA.
Lately, Giolito has found success by not thinking so much about his pitching mechanics.
“It’s been kind of a long road to figure that out,” Giolito said to his team’s official website. “But I’m definitely in a much better place right now with that, just letting it flow. The key words are let it flow. Just go out there and be athletic. …
“It’s like the desire to be as good as I can be to the point where I’ve overanalyzed things and been like, ‘What am I doing wrong? What should I fix? What can I fix?’
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The Twins will counter with right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.97 ERA) for his 17th start of the season. The Illinois native has 80 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings this season, but his walk rate (4.1 per nine innings) is the highest since his rookie campaign in 2012 with the Kansas City Royals.
Odorizzi is 1-2 with a 4.13 ERA in five career starts against the White Sox. He has an 0-1 record with a 5.23 ERA (six earned runs in 10 1/3 innings) in two starts against Chicago this season.
Avisail Garcia has homered in back-to-back games for the White Sox and could pose a challenge for Odorizzi, who has given up 14 long balls this year. Jose Abreu also is coming off a much better day at the plate in which he slammed his 12th home run and showed signs of breaking out of a slump.
For the Twins, Ehire Adrianza carries a hot bat into the series finale. He went 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI on Wednesday night, elevating his season average to .264 with four homers and 17 RBIs.
Chicago is 16-26 at home; Minnesota is 14-22 on the road.
After the game, the Twins will stay in Chicago and head about 8 miles north to take on the Cubs in a weekend series. Minnesota is 6-6 in interleague action compared with a 28-36 record against AL teams.
PHOENIX — As the second half of the season commences, both Arizona and San Francisco have reasons to feel confident as they prepare for the third game of a three-game weekend series Sunday.
Both are nearing full health, and the NL West remains wide open as the Diamondbacks, Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are within 3 1/2 games of each other entering July.
Arizona survived a 2-15 stretch in May and is playing as well as it did in the early going, when it did not lose any of its first 12 series. The Giants have won nine of 11 after going 18-10 in June, their first winning month since June [url=http://www.ramsfootballauthentics.com/john-kelly-jersey-authentic]You
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“I know that we got off to a great start and hit a little downturn and fought back,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said when asked about his takeaways from the first half.
“The obvious thing is, we are playing very good baseball now. We’ve grown and learned and become stronger and tougher because of the situation we walked through in May. They have never pointed their finger at anything or any anyone in an particular situation or moment.
“When it didn’t go well, they were accountable. They played united baseball. We’re right in the middle of a story that we continue to want to tell the way we are telling it.”
Arizona right-hander Zack Godley will oppose Giants left-hander Derek Holland in the final game of the series at Chase Field on Sunday afternoon. The Giants begin a three-game series in Colorado on Monday while the Diamondbacks will host a three-game series against St. Louis.
“Considering everything that is happened, we are right in the thick of things, which is where you want to be,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said.
“If you would have told me what we have to deal with – three starters out, (Joe) Panik out, (Evan) Longoria out. Sure, no question you take it. I think it is going to be tight in September. Hopefully we’re right there. That’s our plan.”
Right-handers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija could made their next starts in the majors after prolonged absences due to injury, and Cueto would be particularly welcome. He was 3-0 with an 0.84 ERA in five starts while holding opponents to a .150 batting average before going on the disabled list because of shoulder soreness in the first week of May.
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Arizona outfielders A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza Jr. also are nearing a return from the disabled list after missing considerable time. The Diamondbacks also lost starters Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray for 58 days before returning.
Pollock and Souza Jr. are on rehab assignments for Triple-A Reno, and Pollock is likely to return before the All-Star break. Pollock was slashing .293/.349/.620 with 10 doubles, 11 homers and nine stolen bases in 43 games before suffering a fractured thumb trying to make a diving catch in center field in the ninth inning of a 7-2 loss to Milwaukee on May 14.
“You think about what the (injury) losses are,” Lovullo said “It’s been a very interesting season. I think the most resilient teams are the ones that understand and accept what’s happening day by day, whether it is good or bad, and move on to the next day as quickly as possible.
“We are a resilient group. We can turn the page quickly, no matter what the results are.”
Godley, 9-5 with a 4.58 ERA, is one victory short of NL leaders Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and Aaron Nola, in part because he has received 4.63 runs of support in his 16 starts. His 1.52 WHIP is 44th and last among qualified NL starters, and he has made seven quality starts.
Godley is 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two starts against the Giants this season and is 2-2 with a 6.97 ERA in six career appearances [url=http://www.officialkings.com/authentic-adidas-derek-forbort-jersey]Au
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Holland (5-7, 4.24) is coming off arguably his best outing of the season, although he did not receive a decision in a 3-2 victory over Colorado. Holland gave up one run on six hits in a season-high 6 2/3 innings while striking out a season high eight. It was his longest appearance since he went eight innings against Seattle on May 21, 2017.
He is 0-1 in two starts against the Diamondbacks, both with Texas. Holland is 3-5 with a 3.94 ERA in nine road starts this season. He has never pitched in Chase Field.