CLEVELAND – What looked like a lost series at the start turned into a push for the White Sox as perhaps their biggest series of the season looms.
Lucas Giolito led a strong pitching effort by the White Sox against the Guardians as the starter allowed just one run in 6 1/3 innings with the bullpen pitching a shutout the rest of the way. Two runs in the sixth inning on a double by Jose Abreu and a ground out by Andrew Vaughn was enough for a 2-1 win in Cleveland.
That helped the team split a four-game series in which they lost the first two games, and now they look ahead to a showdown with the first place team in the American League Central division.
For a second time this season, the White Sox head to Minneapolis to face the Twins to start a four-game series. They’ll enter trailing their opponent by five games, which is quite a surprise considering that the White Sox were expected to dominate the division again.
But things have been much different than expected in the first half, as Tony La Russa’s group has been impacted by injuries and underperformance as they enter the series at 43-45. Meanwhile, the Twins have jumped out and taken control of the division of the first half, beating the White Sox in five of the six match-ups so far during the season.
That included a sweep at Target Field back in April that seemed to set the tone for a topsy-turvy first half for the reigning division champions. Since then, the White Sox have failed to get a healthy amount of momentum as they’ve been consistently third in the division since mid-May.
A chance to make up some of that ground is ahead for the White Sox this weekend, but it won’t be the last for the club this season. This four-game series represents the 13 games that remain between the AL Central division foes for the rest of the season, leaving the defending champs time to get things turned around.
But as the second half approaches, it would be better late than never to start that Thursday.