Chicago (67-87) at Minnesota (75-78)

Cloudy Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 12:10 pm EDT Sat Sep 22, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Chicago White Sox are among the worst teams in the AL, but Jim Thome and Josh Fields are determined to close out the season strongly.

Thome and Fields will try to continue their offensive barrage, and lead the White Sox to consecutive road wins for just the second time this month when they continue their weekend series with the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

Chicago has alternated wins and losses while going 3-2 on its seven-game road swing. On Friday, Thome hit a three-run homer off two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana - and barely missed hitting a second home run - to lift the White Sox to a 6-4 win.

In his last 13 games, Thome is hitting .340 (17-for-50) with eight homers and 17 RBIs. He became the third major leaguer this season and 23rd in history with 500 career homers when his two-run, walkoff shot helped the White Sox top the playoff-bound Los Angeles Angels 9-7 on Sunday.

Thome has hit three homers since then, and needs one more to tie Eddie Murray for 22nd all-time. The designated hitter also leads Chicago with 90 RBIs, and needs 10 more in the final eight games to reach 100 for the 10th time in his career.

Fields hit two homers off Santana, and leads all AL rookies with 22. The last White Sox player to lead AL rookies in homers was Ron Kittle with 35 in 1983.

The White Sox are 10-9 this month, but haven’t posted consecutive road wins since Sept. 2-4, when they beat AL Central rivals Cleveland and Detroit. Chicago also hasn’t finished above .500 in any month since April, when it was 12-11.

“In this division, when you go down,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said, “you go down in a hurry.”

Javier Vazquez (13-8, 3.83 ERA) looks to build off one of the best performances of his career for the White Sox (67-87). The right-hander struck out 13 - one off his career high - over eight innings on Tuesday in an 11-3 win over Kansas City.

Vazquez is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA in four starts against Minnesota this year. He failed to record a decision in his only start in Minneapolis on May 8, allowing a run and four hits over seven innings of a 7-4, 10-inning loss.

Scott Baker (9-8, 4.15) will try to keep Thome and Fields in check and become the Twins’ third 10-game winner. Santana leads Minnesota (75-78) with 15 wins, followed by Carlos Silva, who is 12-14.

Baker has alternated wins and losses in his last four starts, a run that includes a defeat at home to Detroit on Sunday, when he gave up four runs - three earned - and eight hits over seven innings of a 6-4 loss. The right-hander immediately fell behind when he gave up a homer to Curtis Granderson leading off the game.

“It just stinks giving up a leadoff home run,” said Baker, who’s 1-0 in two starts this year against the White Sox despite being tagged for 13 runs and 19 hits in just eight innings.

Thome is 1-for-7 with four strikeouts lifetime against Baker, while Fields has one hit in three at-bats.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Vazquez Mia vs. S. Baker LAD
15-8 Record 9-9
3.74 ERA 4.26
213 K 102
50 BB 29
1.14 WHIP 1.33


Saturday, Sep 22