Luis Robert and Jose Abreu will look to continue their torrid stretches on Friday when the Chicago White Sox play the second contest of their four-game series against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.
Robert belted his first career grand slam to highlight his third consecutive three-hit performance in Chicago’s 12-2 rout of Minnesota in the series opener on Thursday night.
The 24-year-old center fielder is 9-for-13 with two homers, eight RBIs and three runs in his past three games overall, and 7-for-16 with two homers, seven RBIs and four runs in four games vs. the Twins this season.
Not to be outdone, Abreu extended his on-base streak to 20 games with an RBI single in the first inning. The 2020 American League MVP is 9-for-27 with two homers and six RBIs in seven games against Minnesota this year.
The White Sox have won three in a row to move within one victory of .500.
“Everybody is just committed to take our best shot and see what our record is come Sunday,” Chicago manager Tony La Russa said of the upcoming All-Star break. “You’re going to see our best shot. That’s the way this club has been. They know we’re in a position where we can’t afford to back off.”
The White Sox will turn to right-hander Michael Kopech (2-6, 3.35 ERA) to start the Friday game.
Kopech, 26, saw his winless stretch extend to six appearances after allowing two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings of a no-decision versus the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
Kopech owns a 1-1 record with a 3.78 ERA in seven career appearances (three starts) against the Twins. He surrendered a career-high-tying four homers and six runs in 4 2/3 innings of an 8-2 setback to Minnesota on July 5.
“That’s how baseball goes sometimes,” Kopech said after that outing. “Made some bad pitches over the heart of the plate and they hit them hard. I’ve just got to be better than that. That’s something that’s easy to fix from start to start, it’s just executing pitches better.”
The Twins will look to bounce back after losing five of their past seven games. Minnesota went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Thursday and stranded 10 baserunners.
“It can get frustrating when you have a lot of opportunities and you don’t take advantage of them. I think that’s an obvious statement,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “What we do about it is we have to keep working and focusing on what we need to do when we get those guys out there.”
Minnesota left-hander Devin Smeltzer (4-2, 3.92 ERA) is aiming to rebound from a disastrous start when he takes the mound on Friday.
Smeltzer, 26, surrendered three homers for the second straight start and was fortunate to walk away with a no-decision after allowing seven runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings at Texas on Saturday.
He owns a bloated 15.00 ERA in two career appearances against the White Sox, both in relief in 2020.
–Field Level Media