Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox – MLB July 21

8:10 p.m. ET – Twins at White Sox (-145 ML) O/U: 9.5

The 40-55 Twins close out their four-game set against the 58-37 White Sox on Wednesday night on the South Side of Chicago. Minnesota will be playing its seventh straight game on the road since the All-Star break, after being swept by Detroit last weekend in the Motor City. Chicago is capping off its own seven-game homestand during which they took two of three from the Astros last weekend. This series was kicked off with a doubleheader split on Monday, and then a 9-5 White Sox win on Tuesday night.

Chicago was down 5-4 entering the bottom of the eighth before a Jose Abreu three-run home run capped off a five-run inning that proved too much for Minnesota to overcome.

About the Twins

Minnesota Twins LogoThe Twins sit in fourth place in the American League Central, 18 games behind the first-place White Sox. Minnesota has been one of the biggest disappointments in all of Major League Baseball this season, as the Twins have struggled with essentially the same roster that won the American League Central crown in 2020.

The offense has been fine. Scoring an average of 4.6 runs per game this season, they rank 12th in the big leagues. A major reason for the underwhelming season has been the fact that superstar center fielder Byron Buxton has missed the majority of the season. He returned to the lineup briefly in June, but has not appeared in a game since June 21. He was batting .369 with 10 home runs in 103 at-bats this season, so his loss has been difficult to overcome.

Designated hitter Nelson Cruz has stepped up in Buxton’s absence, batting .295 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI. The lineup overall has produced just fine in the power department, ranking third in Major League Baseball with 136 long balls this year. The biggest issue for the Twins this season has been the pitching staff, which owns a team ERA of 5.00, the fourth-highest in the majors. This season has not gone the way Minnesota envisioned it in the preseason, but there is no doubt they will be forced to become sellers at the trade deadline and look to try and return to contention in the 2022 season.

About the White Sox

Chicago White Sox LogoChicago sits atop the American League Central, 9.5 games ahead of the second-place Indians. The White Sox have beaten up on their weak division this season and it has propelled them all the way to the top record in the American League. The offense has averaged an impressive 5.1 runs per game this season.

The fourth-most runs scored per game of any ball club in the big leagues. A surprise has been the lack of power throughout the lineup, with the eighth-fewest home runs (105) in the majors. Tim Anderson, the 2019 AL batting champion, was the team’s lone position player sent to the All-Star game and for good reason, with Anderson batting .309 this season. Jose Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, has caught fire over the past couple of weeks, hitting .317 with five home runs and 20 RBI in his last 15 games.

The pitching staff has been impressive all season long, with a 3.54 team ERA, the sixth-lowest team in MLB. The South Siders signed ace Lance Lynn to a two-year extension over the past week, so this dominant starting rotation is not going anywhere anytime soon. The White Sox are expected to be very active at the trade deadline, despite having the division all but locked up, they need to acquire additional talent as they prepare for the 2021 postseason.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Minnesota Twins +1½ (-160) +125 O 9 (-120)
Chicago White Sox -1½ (+135) -145 U 9 (+100)

The Pitching Matchup

Right-hander Michael Pineda is toeing the rubber for Minnesota on Wednesday night. Pineda is 3-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 61.1 innings across 12 starts this season. He was lit up by the White Sox in his last outing prior to the All-Star break, allowing five earned runs on 12 hits in 5.1 innings of work on July 7.

Chicago is turning to right-hander Dylan Cease in the series finale. Cease is 7-5 with a 4.15 ERA in 97.2 innings across 19 starts. He allowed three earned runs in 5.2 innings of his last start against the Astros.

What’s the Bet?
Pineda has made just one start in the last five weeks and it was not a good one. The three June starts he had were not much better, as he allowed 10 earned runs in 11.1 innings, recording only four strikeouts in those three starts. Meanwhile, he walks into a buzzsaw on Wednesday night, with the White Sox batting .273 in their last 10 games, outscoring opponents by 35 runs over that span.

Chicago is 2-0 in the two games that Cease has started against the Twins this season, with Cease allowing just five runs in 11 combined innings. Minnesota is 18-30 away from home this season, so do not overthink this one and back Chicago to pick up the series-clinching win on Wednesday night.

The Twins bullpen has struggled against the White Sox all series long and it will be running extra thin in the final game, so take Chicago on the moneyline at -145.
The Pick
White Sox Moneyline

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie

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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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