Francisco Liriano, who was just traded from Minnesota to Chicago over the weekend, faces his former team as the White Sox look to avoid a third consecutive loss. TheMinnesota Twins squandered a two-run lead on Monday night before stealing a 7-6 victory on Jamey Carroll’s walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning. Despite the defeat, Chicago White Sox leads the American League Central by 1 1/2 games over Detroit. Minnesota is still 11 games behind despite its current four-game winning streak.
Minnesota has allowed 533 runs this season, more than any team in the American League. Only a solid lineup that ranks sixth in the major leagues in on-base percentage has kept the club competitive. Pitching hasn’t been nearly as much of an issue for Chicago — the talented but inconsistent Liriano joins a solid starting rotation that includes All-Stars Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. Tuesday’s contest features two of the league’s top home-run hitters in White Sox DH Adam Dunn (MLB-best 31) and Twins LF Josh Willingham (27).
White Sox Twins Betting
When: 8:10 PM ET, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, Comcast Sports (Chicago), Fox Sports North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox LH Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.31 ERA) vs. Twins RH Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.99)
Liriano’s last start, perhaps fittingly, came against his new teammates in Chicago, where he was tagged for seven runs (and three homers) in just 2 2/3 innings. He also lost his two previous starts with Minnesota despite yielding just eight hits in 14 innings and striking out 25 batters. Liriano has faced only two Twins — LF Josh Willingham (1-for-2, HR) and INF Jamey Carroll (0-for-5, 4 BB).
There aren’t many flattering words to describe Blackburn’s horrific 2012 season — he has allowed five runs or more on eight occasions, and four runs or more 11 times. Amazingly, the Twins have somehow won eight of his last 10 outings, but the two losses have come against the White Sox, who have roughed Blackburn up for 14 runs on 19 hits in just 9 1/3 innings this season.
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1. The White Sox are batting a robust .331 (82-for-248) against Blackburn, led by OF Alex Rios (9-for-26, three homers), OF Dayan Viciedo (2-for-2, HR, four RBIs) and 3B Kevin Youkilis (9-for-22).
2. Liriano has had his share of success throwing from the other side in this rivalry. He pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox last May 3.
3. The Twins are 20-9 in Blackburn’s last 29 starts against AL Central opponents.