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Gamethread: White Sox at Twins

It’s an early-season rubber match between depleted rosters

The White Sox need Lucas Giolito to shove today.
| Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Melissa Sage-Bollenbach is a die-hard White Sox fan and Mom of two incredible kids! She also has a Cubby hubby, but it’s OK because he likes the Sox. She went to the first Field of Dreams game, and it was the best baseball experience she's ever had!

It sure has been an embattled first 12 games of the season. Does anyone else feel a heavy-duty sense of déjà-vu? Boy, I sure do. Being a White Sox fan is certainly not for the faint of heart. After last night’s agonizing loss, the Pale Hose are looking to snag their first series win of the year in Minnesota today in a rare weekday lunchtime start.

The South Siders are sending Lucas Giolito to the mound seeking a bounce-back game from the 28-year-old righthander. He has yet to make a quality start this season, and he got smacked around pretty hard in his last outing when he surrendered seven runs on 12 hits, including two four-baggers, in just four innings. We are all pining for the Lucas of old, but with each passing start, it seems less likely we’ll see a resurrection of 2019-21 Giolito. I anxiously await the walk-year incentive to kick in gear for Lucas.

Take heart, Gio has pitched well against Minnesota as of late, running a 3.59 ERA with a well-above average 28% strikeout rate against the Twinkies since 2019. Notable among the Minnesota starters, it’s either feast or famine for Michael A. Taylor against Giolito. He has a .231 batting average with three hits, two home runs, and one walk in 14 at-bats. However, he’s also struck out seven times.

It’s also worth noting that Statcast believes Giolito has been one of the unluckiest starters in baseball to this point, with more than a 100-point gap between his actual wOBA and his expected wOBA based on exit velocity and launch angle:

Expected statistics have been much kinder to Lucas Giolito’s first two starts than the actual results
Baseball Savant

Opposite Giolito, the Twins will send righthander Sonny Gray to the bump this afternoon, who is entering his second season in Minnesota after a trade from Cincinnati prior to the 2022 season. He was on and off the injured list last year, struggling with several hamstring issues and a pectoral strain. Gray has had a solid start to 2023 so far, going 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA, surrendering only one run on seven hits in 12 innings. In his last outing, a no-decision versus the Astros on April 7, he had a career-high 13 strikeouts. Gray relies on six pitches: curveball (31.5%), slider (18.2%), 4-seam fastball (17.1%), sinker (13.3%), cutter (11%), and changeup (8.8%). One might expect all that pitching movement to spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for the White Sox, but surprisingly Gray only has a 17.9% whiff rate against them. On the plus side for the Sox, Andrew Benintendi is a big fan of Sonny Gray’s pitching, with seven hits, one home run, a .412 batting average, and a .588 slugging percentage in 17 plate appearances. Let’s go, Benny!

Here is the starting lineup for the White Sox:

Here is the starting lineup for the Minnesota Twins:

The game is at 12:10 p.m. CST. Watch on NBCSCHI and listen in at ESPN-AM 1000.

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