The Chicago White Sox will go for their third win in a row when they host the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Chicago (27-51) is coming off a rain-soaked 8-4 victory over the Twins in the series opener Tuesday night. The game featured a long delay at the start but proved to be worthwhile for the White Sox Mike Daniels Jersey , who tallied 12 hits and played error-free defense despite a sloppy surface.
Meanwhile, Minnesota (34-41) will look for a fresh start after losing for the fourth time in five games. The Twins are coming off a frustrating game in which they managed two extra-base hits — solo home runs by Brian Dozier and Ehire Adrianza — and made two errors in the field.
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu will look to get on track after struggling through much of June. He is hitting .208 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 24 games this month.
“It’s no secret that it has been a tough month for me for my offense,” Abreu said to The Athletic. “Probably the worst in my time here in the majors. …
“I’m just working hard. I’m just trying to get over it. We still have a few days left in this month, and maybe I can change how this month has gone for me.”
Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson (2-5, 3.25 ERA) will try to prevent that from happening. Gibson has been quietly effective this season despite his underwhelming record. The 30-year-old has limited opponents to two earned runs or fewer in each of his past five starts.
In 11 career starts against the White Sox, Gibson boasts a 6-2 record with a 2.42 ERA. He has walked 14 and struck out 65 in 74 1/3 innings. He has faced the team once this season, drawing a no-decision after allowing three runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
“We’re almost halfway through the season, and we’re not where we want to be,” Gibson said recently to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We’ve got a little bit of urgency here. We’ve got a lot of goals we want to hit. … We’re not far off.”
Abreu is 6-for-28 versus Gibson.
Opposite Gibson, the White Sox will turn to right-hander James Shields (2-9, 4.59 ERA) to make his 17th start of the season. The 36-year-old enjoyed a recent highlight as he pitched at least six innings in 11 consecutive outings, but that streak ended his last time out as he gave up eight runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings against the Oakland Athletics.
Shields is 8-10 with a 4.54 ERA in 26 career starts against the Twins. He has walked 63 and struck out 119 in 158 2/3 innings. This season has proved to be a struggle for Shields against Minnesota as he has given up 10 runs in 12 2/3 innings for a 7.11 ERA.
The White Sox are 15-26 at home this season; The Twins are 14-21 on the road.
For Saints coach Sean Payton and his players, it’s a bit of a stretch to call their return to Minnesota a rematch.
Sixteen games have passed since Week 1, when the Saints needed a late, inconsequential touchdown just to reduce the Vikings’ victory margin to 10 points.
New Orleans has lost numerous players to injuries. Other players have grown into more significant roles. Chemistry developed Youth Su'a Cravens Jersey , and coaches became more adept at playing to the strengths and covering up weaknesses of various players. The result has been a NFC South championship and a victory in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs.
”There are some similarities in regards to scheme. But when you go through the course of an NFL season and you look at the attrition that takes place, there’s – shoot – eight or nine of our (regulars) that were playing in that game that aren’t playing in this game,” Payton said Monday. ”You begin to take shape as the season progresses as to who you become.”
Seven players listed as starters in Minnesota in Week 1 won’t be playing for New Orleans this weekend. Running back Adrian Peterson was traded after four games. Six others are injured: left guard Andrus Peat; right tackle Zach Strief; defensive end Alex Okafor; linebackers A.J. Klein and Alex Anzalone; and safety Kenny Vaccaro.
In addition, tight end Coby Fleener, a regular in the passing game to start the season, is on injured reserve.
As Payton discussed the most striking aspects of the Saints’ evolution this season, he began by highlighting ”the amount of guys we’ve had to replace and the new faces that are stepping up.”
Payton complimented the way linebackers Craig Robertson and Manti Te’o have handled increased roles. Robertson has two sacks, two interceptions, five tackles for losses, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Te’o has made or assisted on 62 tacklers, including seven for losses, and has a fumble recovery.
Payton also named tight end Josh Hill, guard Senio Kelemete, cornerback P.J. Williams and fullback Zach Line in a similar vein. Hill had a touchdown and key first-down catches in New Orleans’ playoff triumph over Carolina. Kelemete, pressed into service often this season because of injuries Youth Courtland Sutton Jersey , filled in at guard after Peat fractured his fibula against the Panthers.
Williams, a third-year pro who missed nearly all of his first two seasons with separate injuries, has two interceptions this season and saw increasing playing time in five-defensive-back formations because of Vaccaro’s injuries.
Line, who scored a short TD against Carolina, wasn’t on the regular-season roster until Oct. 4.
The contributions from such players have been ”the most encouraging thing,” Payton said, adding that ”the resiliency and the fight” of his team ”is something that’s great to be around.”
New Orleans’ defense, in particular, has played much better since the Minnesota loss, when the Saints gave up 470 yards and allowed the Vikings to convert nine of 14 third downs.
”We’ve been playing together for a while now, so we kind of know the strengths and the weaknesses of the guys. We know how to play together, we know where people are going to be and so we’re a lot more confident,” Te’o said. ”Week 1, we were a relatively young team as far as experience goes and as far as time together.”
Now, Te’o said Youth Isaac Yiadom Jersey , ”We kind of know who we are and what we can do and what our strengths are … and also what things we need to work on.”
Offensively, the Saints have evolved as well, particularly with the emergence of versatile running back Alvin Kamara, who put up regular-season numbers (728 yards and eight TDs rushing, 826 yards and five TDs receiving and a kickoff return TD) worthy of rookie-of-the-year consideration. His immediate comfort with Payton’s scheme precipitated Peterson’s trade to Arizona.
Meanwhile, receiver Ted Ginn, known primarily as a deep threat before the Saints acquired him in the offseason, demonstrated enough chemistry with quarterback Drew Brees as the season progressed to convert key first downs on intermediate routes as well.
”I believe that we are different. We didn’t know what we had in store,” Ginn said when comparing the Saints to Week 1. ”We messed around with a lot of options, a lot of different players, different things like that. But as the season went on, we kind of found our mojo.”