Two starting pitchers will face their former teams on Tuesday when the Minnesota Twins open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.
Twins left-hander Hector Santiago (3-1, 2.78 ERA) will return to a familiar site with a new name: Guaranteed Rate Field. The 29-year-old started his career with the White Sox and made 78 appearances (27 starts) from 2011 to 2013.
Opposing Santiago will be White Sox right-hander Mike Pelfrey (0-2, 5.02 ERA), who started 64 games with the Twins from 2013 to 2015. Pelfrey, 33, is looking for his first victory of the season as he makes his fourth start for Chicago.
Both teams could use a strong performance from their starting pitcher to turn around recent slumps.
Minnesota (15-14) has dropped two straight games and lost three of the last four. The Twins have allowed 28 runs in their past two games as the Boston Red Sox drubbed them in 11-1 and 17-6 victories last weekend.
Chicago (15-15) is looking to snap a three-game losing streak after being swept against the Baltimore Orioles. The White Sox concluded a 10-game road trip with a 4-6 record and will return home for the first time since April 26.
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The Twins and White Sox already have faced each other six times in 2017, splitting the matchups with three wins apiece. Minnesota won two of three games in Chicago in early April, and Chicago responded to take two of three at Target Field during the middle part of the month.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier could return to the lineup for Tuesday's series opener after sitting out the past two games because of a sprained left ankle. Dozier is hitting .229 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 26 games.
Another starter's status could be in jeopardy as Twins third baseman Miguel Sano awaits word on his appeal of a one-game suspension by Major League Baseball. Sano was suspended for his role in a bench-clearing altercation against the Detroit Tigers. If his suspension is upheld, he will serve it Tuesday and be eligible to return for the second game of the series Wednesday.
Sano, 23, has enjoyed a breakout season in which he has hit .300 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 29 games. Combined, his on-base percentage (.431) plus slugging percentage (.640) equals a whopping 1.071.
"What an incredible talent, but more importantly what a good hitter," Twins hitting coach James Rowson said to the team's official website. "The power takes away from the fact he's a great hitter. He sees the ball well. He understands how to get a pitch to hit and will take walks when they're given."
The White Sox also feature a hot hitter in first baseman Jose Abreu. The 30-year-old Cuban is batting .286 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 29 games. In his past 13 games, he is hitting .404 with five home runs and 10 RBI.
"It's a combination of things," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's him really feeling in sync, in tune with his swing, feeling in sync with recognizing pitches and having a skill set to put the bat on the baseball. It's all in tune."