Right-hander Pablo Lopez will make his Target Field debut on Tuesday night when the Minnesota Twins host the Chicago White Sox in the second game of their three-game Central Division series in Minneapolis
In need of another top-of-the-rotation starter, Minnesota dealt reigning American League batting champion and fan favorite Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins in January for Lopez, prized infield prospect Jose Salas and minor league outfielder Byron Chourio.
So far, Lopez hasn't disappointed.
Lopez (1-0, 0.73 ERA), who possesses one of the top changeups in baseball to go with a mid-90s fastball, has allowed just one earned run in 12 1/3 innings while striking out 16 and walking four. The right-hander comes in off a no-decision in a 5-2 loss at Miami on Wednesday, when he allowed three hits and one run -- a first-inning homer to Jorge Soler -- over seven innings. Lopez walked one and struck out eight.
"(There were) mixed feelings here and there, but obviously once I put the new uniform on, I know it's business," Lopez said of facing his old team. "After the homer, it's just like, 'OK, I need to settle down. It's go time.
"A lot of good memories in this ballpark, but I'm looking forward to going to Target Field and getting it going."
"He's pitching just like a top-of-the-rotation pitcher does," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said
Lopez hasn't faced the White Sox in his 96 career starts. He'll be opposed by veteran right-hander Lance Lynn (0-1, 9.00 ERA), who is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in eight career starts vs. Minnesota
The Twins can use a big game from Lopez after dropping the opener to the White Sox on Monday afternoon, 4-3. Hanser Alberto broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth with a three-run homer off Minnesota's Kenta Maeda (0-2), who was making his second start after missing the entire 2022 season recovering from Tommy John surgery
Dylan Cease (2-0), despite some less-than-stellar defense, picked up the win after grinding through five innings and allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits, two walks and two hit batters as Chicago committed three errors in the contest.
Reynaldo Lopez struck out three of the four batters he faced to garner his second save as the White Sox's bullpen combined to shut out the Twins on one hit over the final four innings
"We've played good defense all year long, and we'll continue to do that," White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. "Just one of those games where we had a few mistakes, but our pitching picks us up, Alberto picks himself up. It was a great team win.
Grifol and the White Sox will keep their fingers crossed when it comes to the health of two-time All-Star and 2019 American League batting champ Tim Anderson, who left Monday's contest in the sixth inning with left-knee soreness. Twins right fielder Matt Wallner fell on Anderson's left leg during a rundown in the fourth inning
"He felt a little bit of pain when it happened," Grifol said of his shortstop. "He felt like he could play through it, and it stiffened up on him a little bit. He's getting further evaluated (Monday night), but we'll see how that plays out. I'm optimistic."
The White Sox also were without third baseman Yoan Moncada (back soreness) and reliever Joe Kelly (groin) on Monday. Kelly was placed on the 15-day injured list
"A little back soreness," Grifol said of Moncada. "He's day to day. Ten or 11 games in, we have to nip that in the bud real quick."
--Field Level Media