WHITE SOX (23-26) AT TWINS (33-16)
8:10 p.m. ET; FSNO, WGN, MLB.TV
Following a 6-1 West Coast road trip that saw them smash 22 home runs and outscore the opposition, 67-29, the Minnesota Twins open a five-game homestand with a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox starting Friday night in Minneapolis.
Right-hander Jose Berrios (6-2, 3.39 ERA), who is 7-1 with a 2.12 ERA and .183 opponents’ batting average in nine career starts against Chicago, will start for the Twins. Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (3-4, 5.14) will start for the White Sox.
Lopez is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in four career starts against the Twins, including 0-1 and a 1.38 ERA in two starts at Target Field. But he’ll be going against a Minnesota team that is putting up some historic numbers offensively.
The Twins finished their road trip with a 16-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday afternoon in Anaheim, Calif., that featured their second eight-homer game in the span of five weeks, joining the 2005 Texas Rangers as the only teams in major league history to have multiple eight-homer games in the same season.
“I think it’s easy to say that it’s pretty amazing,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “You don’t see that in baseball very often. I know I haven’t seen anything like it. Our guys, they continually go up there, and they don’t give at-bats away. They just keep going at it.”
Minnesota has had at least six home runs in a game four times this season. That’s one more than the rest of MLB combined, with the Dodgers, Yankees and Cubs accomplishing the feat once each.
The Twins also have 98 homers through 49 games, which ties the major league mark held by the 2000 Cardinals and the 1999 Mariners. They are on pace to hit 324 home runs this season, which would shatter the major league mark of 266 set by the Yankees last season.
“It’s a pretty good feeling to be part of this offense,” first baseman C.J. Cron, signed off waivers in November after being released by Tampa Bay, told MLB.com after going 5-for-6 with a homer, two doubles and three runs scored in Thursday’s win. “When you’re hitting like this, it’s contagious, and everyone wants to contribute. And once we start hitting, it kind of piles on like it did today. So, it’s been a really fun start.”
Minnesota has six players with nine or more home runs, led by Eddie Rosario (14) and Cron (13). Jonathan Schoop and Max Kepler, who is day-to-day after banging his right knee against the fence in the ninth inning Thursday, each have 10 homers. American League batting leader Jorge Polanco (.344) and catcher Mitch Garver, who didn’t make the trip with a high-ankle sprain, both have nine.
Chicago comes in off a split of its four-game series at AL West-leading Houston that concluded with a 4-0 complete-game shutout by Lucas Giolito on Thursday night. Giolito gave up just four singles while striking out nine.
“He was fantastic,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He was excellent. He was superior. He executed (and) maintained his poise throughout the whole ball game.”
“This (win) means a lot to us because this is one of the best teams in the business,” outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who hit his third homer in two games, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “They have a lot of stars. To get two games against them is really good. It gives us more confidence.”
–Field Level Media