The IS Minnesota Twins return home from a successful road trip, not only back in first place in America’s National Park, but with a chance to lead the way
Their homestand begins Friday night against the Chicago White Sox. This is the start of a 12-game premiership against teams without a winning record and a chance to build on their two-game lead over the second-placed Cleveland Guardians
After three games against the White Soxare 16 games under .500, Minnesota will play three games against the Seattle Mariners, who got back to the .500 mark with a 5-0 win over the Twins Thursday afternoon. Manager Rocco Baldelli’s squad then hits the road for three games each at Kansas City and St. Louis
Meanwhile, the Guardians have three games against the two reigning World Series contenders, Philadelphia and Houston, during that stretch, as well as three games at home against the Royals and four games against Chicago. White Sox
Right-hander Joe Ryan (8-6, 3.77 ERA) will start Friday’s opener for Minnesota vs. veteran right-hander Lance Lynn (6-8, 6.06).
Ryan, who has won just one of his nine starts, is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two career starts covering 10 innings per White Sox. He ended up taking no decisions against only one against them this season. On May 2 in Chicago, he surrendered just one hit and two walks while striking out seven in six scoreless innings during the Twins lost 3-2 in 10 innings
Lynn, the target of trade rumors heading into the Aug. 1 trade deadline, is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in nine career starts against the Twins. He struck out 10 in Minnesota on April 11, when he gave up three runs in six innings during a no-decision as Minnesota prevailed 4-3 in 10 innings.
Lynn has won two of his three starts and comes into Saturday’s 6-5 win at Atlanta, where he allowed four runs on six hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings. He fanned.
Minnesota gave up just five hits in Seattle on Thursday. Mariners right-hander George Kirby limited the Twins to four hits over seven hits and 10 strikeouts
“It came as advertised,” said Baldelli. “We didn’t have the answer for him today.”
Falling apart Twins designated hitter Byron Buxton returned to the starting lineup after two games off his “reset” but went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Buxton, who is batting .193, is 0-for-25 with 15 strikeouts over his past six games
“He’s going to keep working,” Baldelli said. “It’s a long season and it’s a grind. … You’re going to have points (in the season) that feel like low points, and it doesn’t take a lot to get out of those low points. But it takes work, and it takes discipline, and it takes belief and focus. He’s got those things, and he’s surrounded by people who know what he’s capable of and are going to keep him going.”
Chicago is 3-3 entering the final game of its nine-game road swing.
The IS White Sox the Atlanta Braves took two of three but only one of three from the New York Mets. They salvaged the last game against the Mets with a 6-2 win on Thursday as Michael Kopech allowed just one run on two hits over 5 2/3 innings and Eloy Jimenez had two hits and an RBI.
White Sox Manager Pedro Grifol believes his squad have not thrown in the towel despite speculation the team will be sellers at the trade deadline
“You are always thinking about the future, no matter where you are,” said Grifol, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “This is not a one-stop shop. … We want to win this year. No matter where you are, you’re always thinking about winning this year, setting yourself up for next year and the year after that.”
–Field Level Media