Fighting through another disappointing season, the Chicago White Sox have had a bit of a fire sale lately while shipping veterans to contenders and clearing some payroll.
There have been some bright spots such as the improvement of Hector Noesi, who takes the mound Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game road series with the last-place Minnesota Twins.The White Sox (62-75) had dropped 10 of 12 before beating Detroit 6-2 on Sunday, the same day they traded Adam Dunn to Oakland and Alejandro De Aza to Baltimore.Those transactions came 10 days after Chicago dealt former first-round pick Gordon Beckham to the Angels."Obviously, when we see the opportunity to get better or create some flexibility or improve the system, we take it -- so long as we feel it's going to be our best opportunity," general manager Rick Hahn said.Hahn made a splash in the offseason by signing Cuban defector Jose Abreu, who is batting .500 during a 12-game hitting streak and has a solid chance to win AL Rookie of the Year honors.Noesi (8-9, 4.75 ERA) was an under-the-radar pickup off waivers from Texas on April 25, and he's developed into a solid starter.The right-hander had another good outing Wednesday, allowing two runs in seven innings of a 3-2 win over Cleveland. He's 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA over his last five starts, pitching at least seven innings four times."He knows how to pitch and him and (catcher Tyler Flowers) work really well together," outfielder Adam Eaton said. "It's really fun to play behind those guys."Noesi has gone at least seven innings in both starts against the Twins this season, and he had his longest outing of 2014 on July 24 in Minnesota when he allowed two runs and three hits in 7 2/3 innings of a 5-2 victory.Minnesota (60-77) is the only club below the White Sox in the AL Central, and it had dropped seven of eight before beating Baltimore 6-4 on Monday. Joe Mauer went 3 for 4 with four RBIs and Kennys Vargas drove in two runs."We're 1-0 in September and we need Joe to pick us up," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Let's have a good September here. That's kind of our battle cry, and it's going to be led by him, no doubt."Minnesota has been playing with only three position players on its bench recently and plans to call up eight players after the rosters expand."This will be huge to get a bunch of fresh people in here," Gardenhire said.The Twins have won three of the last four meetings with Chicago and will hand the ball to Tommy Milone, who has had some success against the White Sox.Milone (6-4, 4.21) has struggled since being acquired from Oakland at the non-waiver trade deadline, though, going 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in four starts. He's pitched fewer than six innings in each of the last three, giving up four runs in 5 1/3 of an 11-5, 10-inning win over Kansas City on Thursday."That's the most frustrating part -- the guys are doing such a good job of putting together good at-bats and scoring runs, and I just give it up pretty much that next half-inning," Milone said.The left-hander hasn't given up much against the White Sox in his career, going 1-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts. Milone allowed a run in six innings of Oakland's 4-2 loss to Chicago on May 14.