The make-or-break roadtrip begins: Twins at White Sox 9/21

The Twins critical 10-game, 11-day roadtrip kicks off tonight in Chicago against the White Sox. Currently Minnesota sits 3 games behind the first-place Tigers in the American League Central race. They’ll have a chance tonight to pick up a half-game as Detroit is idle today — their final off day of the season.

While many people have written off Chicago as they now sit 6 1/2 games back of the Tigers in the division, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire isn’t so quick to do the same. He reminded everyone that the White Sox still have these three games to try to make up ground on the Twins and six left with Detroit as well.

“I don’t think the Sox are quitting right now,” Gardenhire said. “When you get a chance to play the other teams that are aehad you, that always makes you feel a little bit better about it. I’m sure the Sox are thinking that too

“They’ve got as much life as we do. We’re just a little closer. They’ve got six games with [Detroit]. We’ve got four.”

Also, the Twins aren’t skipping any starters with the off day but it sounds like they’ll make one alteration. Gardenhire said that the four big guys will be starting against Detroit in that series — meaning everyone besides Jeff Manship. So Manship will start tomorrow vs. Chicago and then he’ll stay on five days to pitch on Sunday at Kansas City. Nick Blackburn will be pushed back a day to start Monday, the first game of the series in Detroit.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (76-73)
2nd place in AL Central, 3 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Jose Morales, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (10-11, 4.34)

White Sox (73-77)
3rd place in AL Central, 6 1/2 games back
Scott Podsednik, CF
Gordon Beckham, 3B
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Paul Konerko, DH
Mark Kotsay, 1B
Jermaine Dye, RF
Carlos Quentin, LF
Chris Getz, 2B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Pitching: RHP Daniel Hudson (0-0, 4.76)

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