ChiSox vs Twins as MLB returns

Baseball returns from the break with a top-notch division series on the schedule as the Chicago White Sox land in Minnesota for a four-game set with the Twins.

The Sox slid into the break with a shaky lead atop the AL Central. After a red-hot June the Sox exit the break leading the Detroit Tigers by half a game, while the Twins sit 4.5 games back.

In five previous meeting this season the Twins have a slight edge on the White Sox with three victories. The series kicks off tonight with John Danks (8-7, 3.29) on tap for Chicago and Kevin Slowey (8-5, 4.64) getting the start for Minnesota.

Danks finished off the first half with an absolute gem against the Angels. He pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing only two hits without issuing a single walk.

In two starts against the Twins this season Danks is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA, and in 15 career starts against Minnesota he is 4-6 with a 5.03 ERA. Slowey got some work out of the bullpen against Detroit before the break, but his last start came against Toronto. The Blue Jays lit him up for five runs on 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings in a no-decision. He faced Chicago in May and took the loss after surrendering five runs in 4 2-3 innings.

He's never had much luck against the White Sox with a 2-3 record and 5.66 ERA in seven starts. The Twins are small favorites tonight at -115 at Bovada, while the White Sox are a -105 underdog.

The total was set at 8.5 and the UNDER may be the way to go considering how the previous matchups this season between Chicago and Minnesota have gone; in their last five matchups this season the UNDER is 4-1.

In Game 2 of the series on Friday night Gavin Floyd (5-7, 4.20) gets the call for Chicago and Francisco Liriano (6-7, 3.86) looks to rebound for Minnesota. Floyd has won his last three starts and owned Kansas City in his last outing after limiting the Royals to one run on six hits in 7 2-3 innings.

He hasn't faced the Twins yet this season, but in nine career starts he is 4-4 with a 4.22 ERA against them. Liriano is 0-4 in his last five starts and last time out against the Tigers he only lasted 1 1-3 innings after getting pounded for seven runs.

He faced the White Sox on opening day and earned a no decision after allowing three runs on four hits in six innings. The weekend pitching matchups in the series will see Mark Buehrle (8-7, 4.24) face Carl Pavano (10-6, 3.58) on Saturday and Freddy Garcia (9-3, 4.36) take on Nick Blackburn (7-7, 6.40) on Sunday.