Rain right on Target; Twins washed out
By Jon Krawczynski, AP Baseball Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Chicago White Sox came barreling into Minnesota playing some of the best baseball in the American League and hoping to bring the surging Twins crashing back to earth.
That pursuit has been delayed for a day.
The series opener was postponed by rain Tuesday night, with no makeup date announced. The Twins did say there would not be a doubleheader during this series.
"Where's the Metrodome when we need it?" White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen joked.
After an inaugural season of near perfect weather at outdoor Target Field, the Twins have had three home games postponed in the first 2½ months of the season.
The Twins and White Sox have only two shared dates off the rest of the way, but the Twins are already making up another rainout on one of them -- Sept. 19, against the New York Yankees. That means it is more likely the teams will play a doubleheader when the White Sox return in August or September.
Both teams simply backed up their rotations a day, so Gavin Floyd (6-5) will pitch for the White Sox on Wednesday night against Carl Pavano (3-5), assuming the game can be played. Forecasts called for more rain Wednesday.
Guillen joked that he asked Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to delay the announcement of the postponement so he could hang around the ballpark and avoid shelling out some money to take his wife out to dinner on Tuesday night.
"This game (is going to) cost me about 300 bucks," he said with a laugh.
The rain started pouring down about an hour before the scheduled start, and the game was called at about 8 p.m. with no end to the showers in sight.
The postponement delayed an anticipated matchup of teams which were expected to compete for the AL Central title when the season began, but were derailed by terrible starts.
The White Sox lost 22 of their first 34 games to fall behind by 11 games in the division, while the Twins were an MLB-worst 17-37 -- 16½ games behind Cleveland -- on June 1.
Both teams have shown signs of life lately, though. The White Sox are 22-13 since May 7, the third-best record in the American League during that span.
The Twins have won nine of their last 11 even while dealing with a seemingly endless line of injuries to key players Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel, Joe Nathan and Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Their recent surge has coincided with a slump from the Indians to put the Twins 10 games behind new leader Detroit and still within shouting distance.
Even though it is only the middle of June, both teams were viewing this series as an important one.
"Everything's big from here on out because we've dug such a big, deep hole," Gardenhire said. "We have to go just game by game. You can't worry about winning series now. You have to go game by game."
The White Sox are only 4½ games behind the Tigers, so the sense of urgency is not nearly as great. But they have struggled mightily in recent years against division nemesis Minnesota, having lost 12 of their last 14 games and 26 of their last 33 to the Twins dating to May 2009.
"You treat it like any other game," Floyd said. "There's no point to do otherwise. It's like playoffs, you've got to treat it like any other game, maintain your focus and try to be your best every game. ... There's no less or more."
NOTES: Guillen said before the game he is not considering, but has not ruled out, the possibility of using RHP Jake Peavy out of the bullpen when he returns from the DL. ... The White Sox traded minor league RHP Gaby Hernandez to Arizona for cash considerations. Hernandez was acquired from Kansas City in March. ... Mark Buehrle (6-4) will pitch for the Sox on Thursday, with Edwin Jackson (4-5) getting backed up to start the series against San Diego on Friday. ... Former Twins RHP Jesse Crain was back at Target Field for the first time since signing with the White Sox in the offseason. Gardenhire raved about Crain's time in Minnesota, including his contributions on the field and in the community. "Total respect here, but now that he's in that uniform, we want to knock the living fire out of him," Gardenhire said with a smile.