Right-hander Lance Lynn will try to move into a tie for the American League lead in wins when the Chicago White Sox play the Minnesota Twins in the rubber game of their three-game series on Wednesday afternoon in Minneapolis.
Lynn (10-3) leads the American League in ERA (2.04) and is one of five pitchers in the league with 10 wins. Oakland’s Chris Bassitt and Toronto’s Hyun Jin Ryu are tied for the AL lead with 11 victories.
Lynn went 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in five July starts and followed that up with an impressive no-decision Friday in an 8-6 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, allowing one run on four hits and two walks over six innings while striking out eight.
It will be the fifth start this season against Minnesota for Lynn, who is 2-0 against the Twins.
Minnesota, which bounced back from an ugly 11-1 loss to Chicago in Monday night’s series opener to edge the White Sox 4-3 on Tuesday night, will start 6-foot-9, 260-pound right-hander Bailey Ober (1-1, 4.99 ERA).
It will be the 13th start of Ober’s career and fifth against the White Sox. He picked up his lone major league win on July 5 against Chicago at Target Field when he threw five shutout innings, allowing two hits while striking out seven in an 8-5 victory. He received a no-decision in his last start on Friday night in a 5-4 victory at Houston, where he allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings.
Minnesota, which is just 5-13 against the White Sox this season, evened the series Tuesday night behind a strong pitching performance by rookie Griffin Jax and a two-run, go-ahead homer by Willians Astudillo in the sixth off Dallas Keuchel.
Jax, the first player from the Air Force Academy to play in the major leagues, struck out a career-high 10 batters while allowing three runs on five hits over six innings to win his second consecutive start. His only rough spot came in the third inning when he surrendered back-to-back homers to Adam Engel and Jose Abreu.
Jax became the first Twins rookie pitcher to strike out 10 batters since Trevor May also struck out 10 against the White Sox on Sept. 14, 2014.
“Double-digit strikeouts against the Chicago White Sox is not something you’re going to see from a lot of starting pitchers in this game,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.
Astudillo put Minnesota ahead to stay with his sixth homer of the season, a 387-foot line drive into the left field bleachers that saw him finish his swing on one knee.
“You never really know what he’s going to do,” Baldelli said of the free-swinging Astudillo. “Sometimes he does more damage on pitches six inches above the zone or in or down. You really don’t know.”
Astudillo’s home run came after Miguel Sano worked a two-out walk off Keuchel, the fourth free pass allowed by the White Sox starter. Keuchel also walked three of the first four batters in the first inning, with two of those players also coming around to score.
“I was fortunate to only give up two (runs),” Keuchel said. “They were making me work. They were being smart about the strike zone.”
After Wednesday’s game, Chicago travels to Dyersville, Iowa, where the White Sox will play the Yankees in the MLB at Field of Dreams Game on Thursday night.
–Field Level Media