Buehrle vs. Santana: A classic matchup

Buehrle vs. Santana: A classic matchup

The White Sox have not fared very well against Johan Santana of late. And that's being generous.

"Santana almost won the Cy Young [last season] because of the White Sox, five wins and no losses," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He doesn't play against us [last season], he might win eight games, seven games."

The crafty left-hander actually went 4-0 (16-7 overall), with two shutouts and a 0.92 ERA, in five starts against Chicago last season. The White Sox hit just .175 against Santana with 44 strikeouts.

Aside from Santana, the White Sox did win the season series, 11-7. It was the first time they had won a series against Minnesota since 2000.

But things could change on Friday when the White Sox play host to Minnesota for the start of a three-game series.

For one, Santana is struggling at 0-2 with a 5.71 ERA. He's yet to make it out of the seventh inning. Second, the White Sox now have Jim Thome.

Thome is a known Twins Killer from his days in Cleveland. His .332 average against them is the highest against any AL team. His 42 homers were tied for the most against any team (with Detroit) coming into the season. It's likely though the Twins will continue the trend of walking Thome. Stuck at seven homers, he has been walked a league-high 18 times already, five intentionally. That strategy is dangerous too, as Thome has scored 18 runs.

"[Thursday] will be a nice off-day, but the way we're playing, it's kind of a touchy thing," he said. "We wish we were still rolling. The Twins have a very good club they always seem to play good fundamentally."

The Twins were hitting .274 during a 6-7 start with a team ERA of 5.46.

After allowing one run in three games against Kansas City, the White Sox team ERA is down to 4.53.

The hitting has picked up as Scott Podsednik is back on track and even Juan Uribe homered for the first time Wednesday.

"We have a little momentum on our side," third baseman Joe Crede said. It's always good to have some kind of momentum going into a tough series like that. We're going to have 19 games against these guys this year. You always want to get the first series."

Pitching matchup
KC: LHP Johan Santana (0-2, 5.71 ERA)
Santana has been unrecognizable by his results. He's given up at least three runs in his three starts and has yet to finish the seventh inning. He's struck out 12, but walked six.

CWS: LHP Mark Buehrle (2-0, 2.25 ERA)
Buehrle is the leader of the rotation and is looking to become the first White Sox starter with three wins. He is also one of the few starters who was around when the Twins were the bullies of the AL Central.

Player to watch
Scott Podsednik got his batting average above .200 (.204) after his fourth straight multi-hit game. Podsednik is regaining his reputation as one of the most dangerous leadoff hitters in baseball. After collecting two hits and two steals on Wednesday, he walked to open the game, though he was thrown out trying for second, and later doubled.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•   Gameday
•   Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WSCR 670 AM

Up next
• Saturday: Twins (RHP Brad Radke, 2-1, 6.63 ERA) at White Sox (RHP Freddy Garcia, 2-1, 7.80 ERA), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Twins (RHP Carlos Silva, 1-2, 7.59) at White Sox (RHP Jose Contreras, 2-0, 1.29 ERA), 7:35 p.m. CT

Jon Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.