CHICAGO 8, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Monday, August 20.
Batting stars: Max Kepler was 2-for-4 with a home run (his seventeenth) and a triple. Ehire Adrianza was 2-for-4. Jake Cave was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his sixth), a walk, and three runs.
Pitching stars: Alan Busenitz pitched 2.2 innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and two walks and striking out two. Oliver Drake struck out four in two perfect innings.
Opposition stars: Daniel Palka was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Tim Anderson was 2-for-4 with a walk. Matt Davidson was 2-for-5 with a home run (his eighteenth), two runs, and three RBIs. Jose Abreu was 2-for-5 with a double, a stolen base (his second), and two RBIs. Juan Minaya struck out five in two perfect innings.
The game: The White Sox put men on first and third in the first inning but did not score. In the second, however, they scored four times. Nicky Delmonico tripled and Davidson hit an RBI single. Yolmer Sanchez walked and Kevan Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Anderson singled home a run and Abreu doubled home two to make it 4-0 Chicago.
The Twins got one back in the bottom of the second when Mitch Garver walked and Cave hit an RBI double. The White Sox got the run back in the fourth when Abreu singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a stolen base-plus-error to make it 5-1 Chicago.
The Twins got back into the game in the bottom of the fourth when Garver hit a two-out double and Cave delivered a two-run homer to cut the lead to 5-3. It stayed 5-3 until the seventh. At that point Avisail Garcia singled and Davidson hit a two-run homer. They added one more in the eighth when Anderson singled and scored from first on Palka's double, making the score 8-3.
The Twins tried to come back in the ninth. Kepler led off the inning with a home run. Cave drew a one-out walk, took second on defensive indifference, and scored on Adrianza's two-out single. But Joe Mauer grounded out, and the game was over.
WP: Lucas Giolito (9-9). S: Stephen Gonsalves (0-1). S: None.
Notes: Adrianza was at second base. Brian Dozier was the regular second baseman, but of course he was traded at the end of July.
Miguel Sano was at third base. Nothing noteworthy about that, really, but injuries limited him to 56 games at third base. Eduardo Escobar played the most games at third, 77. Adrianza played 28 games there.
Cave played the most games in center and Kepler played the most games in right. In this game, however, their roles were reversed, with Kepler in center and Cave in right.
Tyler Austin was the DH. He had been acquired in a trade about ten days earlier. The Twins used a bunch of guys at DH in 2018. Robbie Grossman played the most games there, 36, but Logan Morrison was right behind at 35 and Mauer had 33. Austin played 20 games at DH and Eddie Rosario had a dozen games there.
The Twins did not have a .300 hitter unless you count Willians Astudillo, who had 93 at-bats. Jorge Polanco and Rosario each batted .288. The Twins were seventh in the league in batting at .250. Boston led the league at .268.
Rosario led the team in home runs with 24. Kepler was second at 20. Dozier had 16, Escobar and Morrison each had 15, and Cave and Sano each had 13. The Twins were twelfth in home runs with 166. New York led the league with 267.
This was the major league debut for Gonsalves. It did not go well. He pitched 1.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks. He did strike out three. He would make three more starts and three relief appearances, going 2-2, 6.57. The Twins struggled to find more than three starters. Jose Berrios was 12-11, 3.84, 1.14 WHIP. Kyle Gibson was 10-13, 3.62, 1.30. Jake Odorizzi was 7-10, 4.49, 1.35. But beyond that, it was tough. Lance Lynn made twenty starts, going 7-8, 5.10, 1.63. The only other pitcher to make double-digit starts was Fernando Romero, who was 3-3, 4.69, 1.42. Eleven other pitchers made at least one start, with six of them making four or more.
Fernando Rodney was the closer most of the season and he did well enough, going 3-2, 3.09, 1.40 WHIP. Taylor Rogers was very good: 1-2, 2.63, 0.95. Ryan Pressly was reliable, for the most part: 1-1, 3.40, 1.36. But Addison Reed and Trevor Hildenberger struggled, and beyond that it was a bunch of guys like Matt Magill, Zach Duke, and Matt Belisle.
The Twins were ninth in team ERA at 4.50. Houston led at 3.11, far above the number two Rays at 3.74. The Twins were tenth in WHIP at 1.38. Houston led there, too, at 1.10, again significantly ahead of number two Tampa Bay at 1.20.
It seems like longer ago than two years that we were playing guys like Busenitz, Drake, and Morrison.
Record: The Twins were 59-65, in second place in the American League Central, 13 games behind Cleveland. They would finish 78-84, in second place, 13 games behind Cleveland.
The White Sox were 47-77, in fourth place in the American League Central, 25 games behind Cleveland. They would finish 62-100, in fourth place, 29 games behind Cleveland.
Random Record: The Twins are 44-44 in Random Rewind games.