1. The White Sox haven't trailed the Twins by eight or more games this early in the season since 2001. That year, the Twins got off to a 23-9 start, while Chicago started 12-20.
2. The starting pitching hasn't carried the White Sox, like many of us thought it would. Their starters rank 25th in the majors with a 4.91 ERA.
3. LHP John Danks, who's scheduled to face the Twins on Wednesday, hasn't been the problem. He's been outstanding, going 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA.
4. RHP Freddy Garcia, tonight's scheduled starter, has been pretty good in four of his five starts, including April 10 against the Twins, when his line went 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K and 1 HR. Jason Kubel's two-run homer was the difference in that 2-1 victory for the Twins.
5. RHP Bobby Jenks has a 6.75 ERA and could be on his way out as closer after a crushing blown save Sunday against Toronto. The Twins would rather see Jenks than LHP Matt Thornton, who has a 2.35 ERA, with 25 Ks in 15.1 IP.
6. Chicago is struggling to score runs, like many of us thought they would, but not for the reasons we expected. Without Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye, they're still tied for second in the AL with 43 HR (for comparison, the Twins have 31 HR). This year's heavy hitters have been Paul Konerko (13 HR) and Andruw Jones (9 HR).
7. Trouble is, they're not putting enough runners on base. The Sox rank dead last in the AL with a .228 batting average (compared to .275 for the Twins) and 10th with a .316 OBP (compared to .358 for the Twins).
8. CF Alex Rios (.324 AVG/.361 OBP/.604 SLG) has been pretty good, but the following hitters have made Sox fans want to cover their eyes: LF Juan Pierre (.230/.292/.230), C A.J. Pierzynski (.204/.267/.301), 2B Gordon Beckham (.193/.305/.257), SS Alexei Ramirez (.217/.245/.321), RF Carlos Quentin (.194/.328/.388), DH Mark Kotsay (.143/.226/.304).
Note: La Velle's preview story is here and a closer look at the series matchups can be found here, along with La Velle's latest news bulletin. Check this blog later for tonight's starting lineups. Weather might look dismal now, but it sounds like they'll play, if the forecast is right and it dries up later.