Twins put White Sox’ postseason clincher on hold

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White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito returns to the mound after giving up a two-run home run to Minnesota Twins’ Byron Buxton, top, during the fourth inning Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) | AP Photos

The Sox mustered only two hits in their 5-1 loss Wednesday night, one of them a home run by Jose Abreu.

The White Sox’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth was three going into their 5-1 loss to the Twins on Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field, and they remain tantalizingly close to officially being a postseason team.

It will have to wait another day.

Four Twins pitchers held the most explosive offense in the American League to two hits and retired the last 18 batters, and the Twins, desperate for a win to avoid falling four games behind the Sox in the AL Central, snapped the Sox’ winning streak at six and cut the Sox’ lead in the division to two games. Minnesota will go for a four-game series split Thursday afternoon.

Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who missed a start when he was on the injured list with back spasms, will not start Thursday, as anticipated, manager Rick Renteria said. Reynaldo Lopez will start instead.

Keuchel and fellow lefties Aaron Bummer and Carlos Rodon participated in fielding drills, and all could be nearing returns from the IL. Renteria suggested the move was not health-related and that Keuchel likely will start against the Reds this weekend in a move that would line him up more favorably for the postseason.

The Sox (32-17) can still clinch a playoff berth Thursday, a feat well worth celebrating even in an abbreviated 60-game season. When it has been no postseasons and too many meaningless Septembers since 2008 — when the Sox last appeared in a playoff series (which they lost to the Rays) — glasses should be raised.

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The Sox, surprisingly, boast the best record in the AL in a season in which they were expected to finish above .500 but not this high above it. Most observers, including some in the Sox’ brain trust, saw this kind of success happening a year from now.

But you go for the gusto when putting the rest of the league behind you is a possibility, and the Sox are not settling for just being part of a 16-team postseason field.

“I’m sure they’re probably thinking about it a little,” Renteria said. “But it’s probably not to the extent that it consumes them and takes them away from doing what they have to do between the lines.”

Of more importance than simply clinching a playoff berth, however, is a division title and higher seed in the playoffs.

“There’s still so much ahead of us,” Renteria said.

“I don’t think we’re thinking just about getting in. Obviously, that’s the first step. … Getting in is very, very important, but you still have a lot of things to try to accomplish. I think that’s what the guys are focused on.”

Sox ace Lucas Giolito, who pitched six innings, wanted to deliver …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times


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