A win Tuesday against the visiting Minnesota Twins would assure the Chicago White Sox of at least a .500 record and their third straight non-losing season.
Not exactly the stuff of banners for an organization that made the playoffs in 2020 and 2021, but it could be worse.
“At this point, just change the goal,” White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito said. “Playing as hard as we can in the final stretch, pushing through and going into the offseason. Make the adjustments we have to make. We don’t want to finish below .500. We just keep grinding and try to end on a high note.”
Chicago edged Minnesota 3-2 in the series opener on Monday as Johnny Cueto pitched seven innings of two-run ball.
The win assured the 2021 American League Central champion White Sox (80-80) of a second-place finish in the division.
Giolito (10-9, 5.00 ERA) looks to cap a strong final month of the regular season as he gets the call against the Twins for the second successive start. Giolito took a no-decision at Minnesota on Thursday after allowing two runs on four hits in five innings.
He is 1-2 with a 3.99 ERA in his past seven starts. Giolito is 7-8 with a 4.26 ERA in 19 career starts vs. Minnesota, including an 0-1 record with a 3.21 ERA three starts this year.
The Twins (77-83) have lost three straight and four of five. On the plus side, Carlos Correa went 3-for-4 on Monday, collecting his third multi-hit game in the past four contests.
Twins first baseman Luis Arraez, who leads the American League with a .315 batting average, was held out of action on Monday as he contends with left hamstring pain.
Arraez’s nearest pursuer, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, has a .311 average as he vies for the first Triple Crown in the majors since the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera topped the AL in batting average, homers and RBIs in 2012. Judge holds comfortable leads in home runs and RBIs.
Arraez is aiming to become the first Minnesota player to win an AL batting title since Joe Mauer in 2009 — the third time Mauer accomplished the feat in four seasons. Arraez is batting .371 (26-for-70) against Chicago this season. He was 5-for-13 in the teams’ three-game series in Minnesota last week with one extra-base hit and one RBI.
“This is baseball history. This is a batting-title race,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “These things are important to all of us. Very important to Luis as well and every other player involved. I know that.
“But if our guy, who is a gamer and who takes the field every day for us, can’t swing without hopping on one leg and can’t run to first base or score on a base hit, then I think it’s hard to put him out there. So again, we’ll continue to evaluate him and hopefully he improves.”
Said Arraez: “I want to win the batting title fighting.”
Rookie righty Josh Winder (4-5, 4.31 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Twins. Winder is 1-0 with a 3.95 ERA in three appearances against Chicago this season, including two starts. He took a no-decision against the White Sox on Wednesday, allowing three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
–Field Level Media