After ending a nine-game road trip with a five-game losing streak, the Minnesota Twins are looking forward to beginning an eight-game stretch at Target Field in Minneapolis against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night where they’ve compiled a 12-3 record.
First up is a matchup with red-hot White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito who will be attempting to join Johnny Vander Meer as the only pitcher in Major League history to toss consecutive no-hitters.
Vander Meer accomplished that feat 82 years ago in 1938. Now Giolito (3-2, 3.09 ERA) will make his first start since no-hitting Pittsburgh in a 4-0 win on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, the 19th no-hitter in franchise history.
The White Sox, meanwhile, are also trying for another kind of history, having bounced back from a 10-11 record on Aug. 16 to move into a first-place tie with the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central Division, while the slumping Twins have slid into third place.
“We got lost in history with a no-hitter,” James McCann, who caught Giolito’s masterpiece, told reporters. “But if you look at what our team is doing as a whole, we’re on pace to have a pretty darn good 60-game season.
“And as much fun as (Tuesday) was, as much as I’m going to relive (Tuesday) for, really, the rest of my life, we have to get back to work and continue to grow and continue to mature as a team to get to the ultimate goal. And that’s the playoffs and then the World Series.”
To that end, Chicago took another step forward with a 5-2 victory in 10 innings on Sunday over visiting Kansas City behind Luis Robert’s three-run walk-off homer.
Giolito threw seven shutout innings in a 9-0 win over Detroit in his previous start before the no-hitter. In his last two starts, he has allowed three hits and two walks and no runs in 16 innings while striking out 26.
But Giolito is just 4-6 with a 5.34 ERA in 11 career starts against Minnesota, including a 10-5 loss in the season-opener on July 24 when he allowed seven runs on six hits, including a pair of home runs by Max Kepler, in just 3 2/3 innings.
However, Giolito pitched arguably the best game of the 2019 season against the 101-win Twins at Target Field, blanking them on just three hits while striking out 12 on Aug. 21 of last year. Overall, he’s 3-2 with a 4.71 ERA in five career starts at Target Field.
Left-hander Rich Hill (1-1, 3.55) is scheduled to start for Minnesota. Hill is 0-2 with a 6.41 ERA in 17 career appearances and three starts against the White Sox but hasn’t pitched against them since Opening Day in 2016 as a member of the Oakland A’s. On that day, he took the loss in a 4-3 setback, allowing four runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings.
The Twins managed just six runs on 13 hits while getting swept in a three-game series by the Tigers for the first time since 2016 to end the trip.
“The road trip was a rough one,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said after Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Detroit. “Every time we felt like maybe we were getting something going or on a little roll, maybe we wouldn’t execute, something wouldn’t go our way. It wasn’t pretty baseball from the beginning.”
The five-game losing streak is the longest in Baldelli’s two seasons as manager of the Twins.
–Field Level Media