Andrew Albers makes his third major-league start today after two spectacular games; he still hasn't allowed a run or even an extra-base hit, in 17 1/3 innings. Surely he can't pitch any better, right?
"He can throw a no-hitter," deadpanned manager Ron Gardenhire. "That would be [better]."
OK, so he's set the bar pretty high. But tonight's matchup is a good one for Albers; the White Sox have fewer hits and far fewer runs than Cleveland or Kansas City, the teams he has shut down so far. "I don't know that we'll change much about our game plan," said Chris Herrmann, Albers' catcher for all three starts. "We're going to go with what's working -- throwing [first-pitch] strikes. It's a lot harder to hit with one or two strikes."
For more on the rookie wonder, check out Chip Scoggins' column from this morning's paper.
Albers will face Chicago's ace, left-hander Chris Sale, whose 2.73 ERA isn't as good as Albers' 0.00, but ranks fifth in the American League among pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title. Albers "is going to have to be very good again. Mr. Sale on the other side is really good, throws really hard," said Gardenhire, who kept left-handed hitters Justin Morneau and Oswaldo Arcia out of his lineup against the lefty.
One organizational note today: Kohl Stewart, the righthanded pitcher taken by the Twins with the fourth overall pick in the draft last June, has been promoted from the Gulf Coast League to Elizabethton, the Twins' rookie-league team.
Here are tonight's lineups:
De Aza CF