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That's the Ticket: Chicago's Cuban Connection

Sponsored by Ticket King

 [/HR]It hasn't been that long since Twins fans touted the Twins/White Sox rivalry as one of baseball’s best. No, it was never in the same category as Yankees/Red Sox, but there was a most definitely a rivalry. In fact, it got ugly at times. Consider from 2001 through 2010, the White Sox or Twins won the AL Central title nine times. They finished first and second in the division five of those ten seasons.

The pinnacle of that stretch came in Game 163 of the 2008 season when Jim Thome’s blast off of Nick Blackburn gave the White Sox a 1-0 win and the division crown. Of course, one of my favorite moments in White Sox/Twins history came on August 18, 2010, when Jim Thome launched a mammoth blast for the Twins off Matt Thornton in the bottom of the 10th to give the Twins a huge late-season win.

Despite the fact that the two teams have come on hard times in recent years, the White Sox/Twins games are always played with a little extra intensity. Right now, the Twins are in fifth place in the AL Central, just behind the White Sox. In 2013, the Twins finished in fourth place, just ahead of the White Sox. Both teams would appear to fit under the label of "sellers" over the next week (and of course into August as well). But despite the win-loss records, the four-game series promised to provide a lot of fun at the ballpark.

The Cuban Connection

In the Twins' inaugural season in Minnesota in 1961, six players on their roster were born in Cuba. You have certainly heard of Zoilo Versalles and Camilo Pascual. Pedro Ramos threw a three-hit, complete game shutout against the Yankees in the Minnesota Twins' first game. Julio Becquer, Jose Valdivielso and Bert Cueto all spent time with the Twins that season. Minnesota’s most famous Cuban, Tony Oliva, debuted in September of 1962. In early June, the Twins signed their first Cuban-born player in many years when they signed 1B/DH Kendrys Morales.

When the White Sox come to Target Field tonight, they will have four players from Cuba on their roster. Jose Abreu has had an impressive rookie season. The 27-year-old signed a massive six year, $68 million contract last offseason, and he looks like he will earn it after a powerful, all-star performance in the first half. In his seventh season as the White Sox shortstop, Alexei Ramirez came to Target Field to participate in his first All-Star game. Dayan Viciedo is a powerful outfielder, and Adrien Nieto is the team’s backup catcher.

Did you know that there are two locations within Target Field where you can get a Tony O’s Cuban Sandwich? The kiosks can be found near Section 111 and Section 309. There are good Target Field tickets available near those sections for a very reasonable price.

http://twinsdaily.co...8305&stc=1photo by Rick Osentoski

Let’s get to the pitching matchups so you can pick out when and where you might want to sit.

Thursday, 7:10 PM: Phil Hughes vs. Hector Noesi

Phil Hughes was very good through May, but it’s been a struggle for him in the past six weeks. In 10 starts since June 1, he has a 4.81 ERA and opponents are hitting .301 off of him. He has given up five earned runs or more in half those starts.

Hector Noesi was once a highly touted New York Yankees prospect. He was traded to the Mariners before the 2012 season, but Seattle designated him for assignment in early April and he was claimed by the Rangers. Two weeks later, he was claimed by the White Sox. He is 4-6 with a 4.55 ERA in 87 innings.

Friday, 7:10 PM: Kevin Correia vs. John Danks

We will assume that this will be the pitching matchup in this Friday night game. With the trade deadline looming, both these veterans have had their names mentioned in trade rumors.

Whereas Hughes pitched well early, Correia has been a solid starter in his last ten games: he has posted a solid 3.26 ERA. Scouts from teams looking for a veteran, back-of-the-rotation starter will likely use this start as a final evaluation to decide how much they want to acquire him.

Danks was once a stalwart in the White Sox rotation, but since shoulder issues began late in the 2010 season, he’s been a shell of his former self. He is 8-6 with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 20 starts this season. The Yankees are said to be interested in acquiring him.

Saturday, 6:10 PM: Kyle Gibson vs. Chris Sale

Sale missed time early in the season, but he has come back and been better than ever. That’s more impressive when you consider he’s been one of baseball’s best pitchers the last two years. He currently boasts a 9-1 record with a 2.03 ERA. He has reduced his walks and increased his strikeouts. Even though he pitches for the Bad Guys, he can be a joy to watch.

The Twins are hoping Kyle Gibson will be able to make the start on Saturday after missing his scheduled Wednesday start due to back stiffness. He is currently 8-8 with a 4.19 ERA. Things will get interesting if he can’t make the start that night. In all likelihood, lefty Logan Darnell would make his first major league start. At Rochester, he has gone 5-5 with a 3.43 ERA this season.

Sunday, 1:10 PM: Yohan Pino vs. Scott Carroll

Pino’s story has been a very good one. The 30-year-old debuted with a strong, 7-inning, two-run win on June 19 against the White Sox. His next two starts weren’t great. However, in three July starts, Pino has a 3.12 ERA. With the likes of Trevor May and Alex Meyer looming in Rochester, he will need to continue pitching well to keep getting opportunities.

Like Pino, Carroll is an older (29-year-old) pitcher who was just looking for an opportunity. He debuted with a win over Tampa in late April when he gave up two runs (1 earned) in 7.1 innings and left to a standing ovation. Since then, he has experienced the ups and downs that any rookie would. Overall, he has made ten starts and six relief appearances. He is 4-6 with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP overall. In other words, this could be a high-scoring affair!

 [/HR]
Head out to cheer on the Twins this weekend at Target Field against the White Sox. At Ticket King, you'll be able to do so at a very reasonable price. Thursday's game has plenty of tickets available for as low as $12. On Friday I see some of these premium tickets for $15. There are several seats in the left field bleachers. With Chris Sale on the mound on Saturday, you may even want to get some lower level seats near the infield. The series will conclude with a Sunday afternoon matinee, hopefully in some beautiful weather, and hopefully after a few Twins wins.

All are an even better deal if you use the promo code DAILYDOUBLE, which will get you 10% off and supports Twins Daily. Whatever your needs, your local ticket broker, Ticket King, can help.


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