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Apr 23, 2024 7:46 am

Twins, with Max Kepler back, vie for another win vs. hapless White Sox

kepler white sox

Minnesota Twins outfielder Max Kepler waited and watched for more than two weeks before returning from the injured list this week.

Actually, strike that. Kepler waited, but he didn’t watch.

“I can’t really watch games because it’s too upsetting not being able to help my team win games,” he said, “or even just battle through whatever is going on.”

Kepler can stop avoiding the game now. He returned to action Monday against the Chicago White Sox and went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.

The 31-year-old Kepler will try to repeat his success as the Twins host the White Sox in the second game of a four-game series Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

Minnesota cruised to a 7-0 win in the series opener, thanks in part to Kepler’s contributions at the plate. Edouard Julien also stood out, going 3-for-4 with a double, a homer and two RBIs.

As the Twins feasted, the White Sox foundered.

Chicago hopes that Tuesday can be a bright spot in what has been a miserable start to the season. The White Sox (3-19) were shut out for the eighth time in 22 games on Monday night, and their 45 runs this season are 20 fewer than the next-closest team, the Oakland Athletics.

White Sox infielder Nicky Lopez said he and his teammates need to find some way — any way — to stay positive and keep coming to the ballpark with an expectation to succeed.

“You like to stay optimistic and say it’s going to eventually happen,” Lopez said. “Sometimes, it just doesn’t. This game has a way of beating you down and slapping you in the face. But it’s a game of adjustments. (We) have to keep coming every day with a positive attitude.”

The White Sox will try to spark their offense against the ace of the Twins staff, right-hander Pablo Lopez, who is 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA in his first four starts. Lopez won his season debut March 28 but has endured two losses and a no-decision since then.

In his most recent outing last Wednesday, Lopez recorded a quality start after limiting the Baltimore Orioles to one run on two hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out seven but did not factor into the decision as the Twins’ bullpen faltered in a 4-2 loss.

Lopez has made three starts against the White Sox in his career. He is 0-1 with a 4.12 ERA in those games, and he has walked two and struck out 26 in 19 2/3 innings.

Chicago will counter with right-hander Erick Fedde (1-0, 3.10 ERA), who also is set to make his fifth start of the season. He is looking for back-to-back victories after pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, when he scattered three hits, walked three and struck out five.

Fedde never has faced the Twins. He spent his first six seasons with the Washington Nationals before pitching professionally last season in South Korea.

Minnesota is 3-6 at home this season. Chicago is 1-10 on the road and has lost 10 of its past 11 games overall.

–Field Level Media

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