The Chicago White Sox have had problems with the Minnesota Twins as long as I have been alive. I think it has almost turned into a mental block. With the Sox coming into a series at Target Field on a six game losing streak, I assumed the worst. However, this weekend was almost a role reversal. It was the Sox who had timely hitting and great pitching while the Twins committed errors and played about as anti-Twin as they could.
Jake Peavy was the star on Sunday. The oft-injured pitcher showed why he won the Cy Young in 2007. Peavy pitched eight shutout innings, while giving up three hits. It was one of his best starts as a member on the Sox. We will see if he gets pushed back another day in the rotation due to a high pitch count, but the last two starts have been the Peavy of old. With the emergence of Zach Stewart on Saturday, the White Sox can afford to go back to the six man rotation they used earlier this year.
The offense gave plenty Peavy plenty of support. Brent Lillibridge started the scoring off with a long drive in the 2nd inning. If you would’ve told me Lillibridge would have one less homerun than Adam Dunn at this point in the season, I would’ve laughed at you. Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, and Alex Rios also added homeruns on the day.
Speaking of Rios, he has looked leaps and bounds better the last two days. I’ve noticed a subtle change in his batting stance, as he rests the bat on his shoulder before the pitch. He had another multi-hit game, and had three extra-base hits in the last two games. This team needs either him or Dunn to step up, if not both of them. Rios showing signs of life the last two games is a big positive, especially with Alejandro De Aza playing well. The Sox can now afford to bench Dunn for a couple of games and play Carlos Quentin at DH and move De Aza or Lillibridge to right.
Quentin continued tearing the cover off the ball with two doubles today. As I stated on Friday, it felt like a Q hot streak was starting. He didn’t do anything to disprove that theory today. He even went the opposite way on one of his doubles. Q needs to go on a tear for two to three weeks to help the Sox get back in the race.
They have moved to 5.5 games back of the Tigers, and still have plenty of games in the division left. The Sox travel to Baltimore for a four game set before returning home for a crucial nine game home stand. If the Sox come back to win the division, fans and players alike can point to this series as the ultimate turning point.