Tonight is the 40th game of the 2012 Sox season and their first game against AL Central Division rivals, the Minnesota Twins. The Sox and Twins will be hooking up for a 3-game series starting tonight on the south side of Chicago.
The Twins have gotten off to a horrible start this year with a record of 14-27, giving them the worst record in baseball and leaving them 9 games out of first place. The Twins were expected to be carried by their two former All-Stars, catcher Joe Mauer and first base man Justin Morneau, but neither have played up to their potential yet this season.
Die-hard Sox fans know that the Twins are infamous for playing much better during the second half of the season and typically play very well against the Sox – especially at The Cell, winning 17 of the last 22 on the south side. So don’t pass the Twinkies off just yet - read up below for a closer look of who to watch for this series.
Who You Need to Know:
#7 Joe Mauer (Twins – catcher)
Only a few years ago, Joe Mauer was touted as the best catcher in the big leagues and won the coveted 2009 AL MVP Award, hitting 28 home runs that season. Since then he has hit a combined 13 home runs with only 1 so far this season, leaving many Twins fans questioning whether he’ll ever return to his glory days. Mauer has had some injuries that have kept his power down but he has still been able to get on base. Let’s hope his power outage continues through this Sox series!
#33 Justin Morneau (Twins – first base)
This former MVP had appeared in 4 straight All-Star games and was a consistent pain the the Sox back, but after suffering a concussion in 2010, he has never been the same. Just like Mauer, Morneau’s home run and hitting production has plummeted.
#16 Josh Willingham (Twins – outfielder)
Josh is having a great season for the Twins so far. He leads his team in home runs, runs and runs batted in and has the second best average on the team. Last year he hit very well against Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd who will take the mound for the Sox tonight and has historically struggled against the Twins.
#14 Paul Konerko (Sox – first base)
The Sox best hitter is back in the lineup after taking a pitch to the face in last Friday’s game against the Cubs. Konerko rested the last two games and has no lingering symptoms and no sign of a concussion. Pauly only had one home run in all of last season’s games against the Twinkies – a stat that will most likely change this series.
Your Take Away Piece: “The Sox are riding a 4 game winning streak after sweeping the Cubs and are back at .500 for the first time since early May. Another sweep would be their first back-to-back sweeps this season and give them excellent momentum heading into the much tougher series this week against the Cleveland Indians on Friday.”
What’s Next: Gavin Floyd will look to recover from his rocky pitching effort against the Angels last Wednesday. Floyd will be up against Minnesota’s PJ Walters. Be sure to look for me at the game!