Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox series preview

Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Twins travel to Chicago as an important road trip kicks off against A.L. Central foes.

Six weeks into the season, the Minnesota Twins have reached a crossroads, a bookmark to look back on after this season is complete. They will be going back to a stadium for a second series for the first time all year (Twins won two of three April 14-16), and play six games on the road within the A.L. Central this week.

How they fare against their two closest division rivals, the White Sox and the Indians, will determine quite possibly the fates of some of their teammates and the front office’s outlook on their minor leaguers.

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Surely, if they run the table this week, look for reinforcements to arrive quickly. Jose Berrios would most assuredly see his first action Saturday, and a player as productive as Daniel Palka won’t be long for the minors if he can help the big club instead.

If Minnesota treads water, or falls back, Derek Falvey may take a more conservative approach. Instead, he may look to audition current veterans on the team to use as trade bait to make a run next year, when most “experts” expect the young Twins to begin to contend.

After this week’s intra-divisional contests, the Twins will finish out the month of May with series against three of the top five teams currently in baseball: Colorado, Baltimore and Houston.

If Minnesota has continued to surprise, they could be buyers, but at what cost? If it is to pick up an expensive reliever on a floundering team (Blue Jays, Giants, Royals) with little in means of prospects in return, then most Twins fans would be fine with just spending money.

But if the front office were to “give away” prospects hoping to catch magic this season, Minnesota’s faithful is jaded to the cost of what we’ve given away to do so lately. Remember Aaron Hicks, J.J. Hardy, Carlos Gomez or Matt Capps?

What the Twins need to decide is whether their bullpen of the future in AA Chattanooga or closer, or are the pitchers currently playing for other organizations? The Twins’ defensive eight is good enough and young enough (outside of Joe Mauer) to keep them together – they just need a bullpen.

Not every game on the schedule is going to be closely played, but in those types of games, Minnesota has fared well (9-9 in games decided by four runs or fewer).

But they’ve let too many games get away from them at the end, which can lead to heads hanging, and feet kicking. A manager hopes that doesn’t continue over a long season and begin to carry over to the next day.

Tuesday Night Game

Hector Santiago (3-1, 2.78 ERA) vs Mike Pelfrey (0-2, 5.02 ERA)

7:10 PM Guaranteed Rate Field

TV: Fox Sports North

Wednesday Night Game

Phil Hughes (4-1, 4.32 ERA) vs Derek Holland (3-2, 2.02 ERA)

7:10 PM Guaranteed Rate Field

TV: Fox Sports North / WGN

Thursday Night Game

Nick Tepesch (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs Miguel Gonzalez (3-2, 3.18 ERA)

7:10 PM Guaranteed Rate Field

TV: Fox Sports North