Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon has pitched like an unmistakable ace in recent weeks.
Rodon cannot afford to let up when the White Sox host the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon in the conclusion of a quick two-game home series.
Top-line starters stay consistent -- that's part of being an ace.
The 25-year-old is 4-3 with a 2.69 ERA in 12 starts this season. In his past seven starts, he has posted a 3-0 record with a miniscule 1.60 ERA. He is limiting hitters to a .159 average in that span.
Against the Twins, Rodon is 4-2 with a 3.50 ERA in eight career appearances (seven starts).
"He's throwing the ball really, really well," White Sox manager Rick Renteria told the Chicago Tribune after a recent outing by Rodon. "He's ... minimizing anything [the opponents] can do. His stuff is really good.
"His off-speed, his breaking ball are working well. That front-door action, also. Very focused."
Chicago (47-78) will need to stay focused amid a difficult and distracting week.
Renteria was hospitalized Sunday after complaining of light-headedness and has missed the past two games -- although the 56-year-old skipper has been released from the hospital. His availability for Wednesday is uncertain, with bench coach Joe McEwing able to manage in his place once again if necessary.
In addition, All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu (22 home runs, 78 RBIs) is out for the next two weeks after undergoing outpatient surgery on his lower abdomen and groin Tuesday. The absence of Abreu leaves the White Sox without one of their biggest leaders on and off the field. His four-season streak of 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs is almost certain to come to an end.
Minnesota (60-65) is in better shape but also has shown plenty of warts this season. However, the Twins have won six of their past eight games and are coming off a 5-2 victory over Chicago.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (7-9, 3.51 ERA) will make his 26th start for the Twins. He has won back-to-back starts while limiting opponents to four runs over his past two outings. Gibson is 6-3 with a 2.77 ERA in 12 career starts against the White Sox, and he is 0-1 with a 5.27 ERA in two starts against Chicago this season.
The Twins are riding high after Eddie Rosario (one RBI) and Jorge Polanco (two RBIs) put their team on top with two outs in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday.
"Polanco understands his role is to have good at bats and get hits," Twins manager Paul Molitor recently said to The Athletic. "He's done well with runners in scoring position. He keeps the line moving. But everyone likes to contribute power every now and then and to see one from the right side [recently] was really nice."
Both teams will head to the airport after the matinee, with the White Sox flying over Lake Michigan to face the Detroit Tigers and the Twins traveling home to host the Oakland Athletics.