Wow! Things are finally going the right way, at least for a while.
The White Sox have won three in a row, helped by some solid situational hitting but mostly thanks to the relief corps. Yes, that relief corps — the one that has not only been the most overpriced set of relievers in the history of baseball, but this year the very worst on the planet from any city that doesn’t have a Jack London Square, but has suddenly morphed into an entire bullpen of Mariano Riveras.
To get to the pen will be the job of starter Lucas Giolito, who has been up and down this season, but who held the Twins to one run on five hits and notched 10 K’s on April 12 and surrendered just two runs to the Rays last time out.
Giolito’s 4.15 ERA is slightly worse than that of opposing starter Pablo Lopez’s 4.00, but Lopez is definitely trending the wrong way. After a strong start that included striking out 10 White Sox and holding them to two runs over 7 2⁄3 on April 11, he’s been clobbered his last two times out — by the Nationals and Royals, at that. What looked like a true win-win trade when the the Twins sent Luis Arráez to Miami for him right now has the Marlins coming out of the swap swimmingly, since Arráez is hitting .432 and the Twins offense is anemic without him.
Lopez will be facing a White Sox lineup that is without Jake Burger, who was placed on the 10-day IL with a strained oblique, and includes Lenyn Sosa, who had just been sent to Charlotte, apparently just to get frequent flyer miles as he returns to replace Burger.
Giolito will take on a lineup that unfortunately doesn’t include Trevor Larnach, who killed the Twins chances yesterday by striking out four times, three of them with runners in scoring position.
A win would move the Sox to 11-21 and six behind the Twins, as it begins to look more and more like the AAAL Central could be won with a losing record. Or maybe even 70-92.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. Central on a beautiful day for baseball (finally), 63° and a light wind toward left. Usual broadcast suspects.