The Chicago White Sox’s Jake Peavy delivered a masterful performance his last time out.
He’s been plenty sharp against the Minnesota Twins of late, too.
With Peavy looking to build on his latest outing, the White Sox try to continue their recent success against the Twins as these AL Central rivals begin their season series with the first of three Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Peavy (2-1, 3.93 ERA) was lights out Sunday, scattering five hits over seven innings of one-run ball in a 3-1 win at Cleveland. The right-hander struck out 11 to match his high from all of last season.
“He’s not just throwing to one side of the plate,” manager Robin Ventura told MLB’s official website. “He’ll mix it in on the inside part and backdoor you on the outside so I think he was just sharp today. He seemed to be hitting the glove.”
Peavy has also been superb in winning four consecutive starts against the Twins (6-7), compiling a 1.73 ERA and striking out 23 in 26 innings. He’s made things extremely difficult on Josh Willingham, who’s hitless in 15 career at-bats in their matchups. Justin Morneau has also struggled, going 3 for 16.
As if facing Peavy wasn’t daunting enough, Minnesota could be a bit rusty Friday following two days off. The Twins, who saw Sunday’s matchup against the Mets get postponed, went on to post back-to-back wins over the Angels before Wednesday’s series finale was also canceled due to weather.
“It’s never really good to have that many off days, especially when you bang a game this time – you’re going to play a lot of games in a row later,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Somewhere you’re going to pay. But you can’t fight this weather. It is what it is. But you’ll be playing in better weather, which is a good thing. But the pitching gets a little out of whack here.”
Given the unusual circumstances, the Twins will turn to Vance Worley (0-2, 10.50) after pushing all of their starters back a day. Acquired from Philadelphia this offseason, Worley has been a disappointment thus far, and he was especially bad last Friday in a 16-5 loss to the Mets.
The right-hander surrendered a career-high nine runs before being removed after facing four batters and failing to record an out in the second inning.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “Nobody likes to have that happen to them. So I’ll have to make some adjustments this week so that I’m ready to go.”
The White Sox (7-9), meanwhile, are coming off a four-game split with Toronto. Chris Sale was outdueled by R.A. Dickey in Thursday’s 3-1 loss as Chicago finished a 3-7 road trip.
“It’s been a long, rough trip,” Ventura said, “so we are ready to go home and hopefully turn it around.”
The White Sox are likely to be without Dayan Viciedo, who left Thursday’s loss with a left oblique strain. Viciedo is batting .333 with two homers and 13 RBIs in his last 11 matchups with the Twins.
Chicago has posted a 22-6 record versus Minnesota dating to August 2011. The White Sox took 14 of 18 last season, including the last four.
They will, however, need to be wary of Joe Mauer, who’s gone 16 for 31 with two homers and seven RBIs over the last seven games. Mauer is a career .320 hitter versus Chicago, and his 14 long balls in the series are his most against any opponent.
“When he gets hot, nobody can really stop him,” second baseman Brian Dozier said. “He does some pretty neat things with the bat.”
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