...AKA "16 games or < until No-Doz(ier)."
Odorizzi v. Giolito
Getaway Day Recently-regular lineup.
!Day Game Alert!
The Twins haven't scored a ton of runs, but their differential is not as jaw-dropping as I'd expected to see. Competent-to-Good pitching helps I guess. If this team can stay within a half-dozen games of first, I'd love to see them add some offense before the deadline. I'd even be happy with the return of second-half-2017 Dozier, Morrison, Buxton & Polanco with a little Santana (and eventually Sano ... hopefully sometime later this summer?) sprinkled in.
Anyway, Boston's legit, and no matter the outcome of today's game (Good Gibson v. Porcello ... yeah), I'm encouraged by the Twins' play against 'em. Add some offense and a continued mediocre run by Cleveland and this team may still be competing in late August.
What a goofy club. Win series' against the teams ahead of you in the standings: took 2/3 against Detroit and 3/4 against Cleveland, but lose to those chasing you: only 1/3 against KC and in danger of losing 3/4 against Chicago.
In an attempt to salvage a split with the South Siders, the Twins give Jose Berríos the ball whose lone loss in the past four starts was a no-show by the Twins offense in Seattle - 1 run on 4 hits. Jose scattered 8 hits over 7 1/3 innings, allowing only 2 earned runs (the 2nd the result of walking his last batter faced and Duke & Reed combining to untie the 8th inning tie ... in Seattle's favor) while striking out 8 and walking 1.
White Sox counter with 36-year-old RHP James Shields, owner of a 1-6 record on the year with a 91 ERA+, 4.27 FIP & 1.258 WHIP. In his last outing against Minnesota (May 6), Shields left in the 7th with one out, a one-run Chicago lead and runners at the corners. His replacement, Luis Avilan, promptly gave up a 2-run double to Logan Morrison.
Let's see what these two
mediocre teams have to offer today.
Perhaps the regularly scheduled author was like me...thinking that Friday features were pushed back? Last night, I rousted myself out of bed at 11:45 pm because I'd neglected to put the trash can out for Friday morning pickup. Got back into the house and realized, "Monday was a holiday. Pickup is delayed a day. I could have stayed in bed."
Drop(kick)* your lists.
*Sunday night at the Armory!
Odorizzi vs. Bieber*
Shane Bieber is Cleveland's #3 prospect. The 23-year-old makes his MLB debut tonight.
After a bad outing in NY on April 23, Odorizzi has only 2 decisions, both W's, and the team is 3-3 in games he's started (all three L's were 1-run games ... shocker). He's still not generally giving them more than ~5 innings per start, but he's been quietly better, allowing no more than 3 earned runs in 5 of his past 6 starts.
I'm not going to talk about the offense, because there isn't any...
There's almost no chance the Twins can make the playoffs via the wild card ... they need to make up ground on the division leaders - tonight's opposition. At 22-29, the Twins currently have the 4th worst record in the AL.** Lucky for them, two of the three below them are in the Central Division.
**the NL has only 2 teams with fewer wins: the Marlins and Reds.
The Twins are playing .500 baseball in May!
Holding down third place in the AL Central - 4.5 games behind the first place Clevelanders (16-13), despite managing a 2-8 in their past 10 games (3-12 in their past 15), they trail 2nd-place Detroit by 1.5 games and lead the Sox by 3 games. I don't see any snow in the Chicago forecast for this series, so that's nice.
Today, off-season acquisition Jake Odorizzi (2-2, 3.94, 109 ERA+, 5.81 FIP, 1.375 WHIP) hopes to pick up where rookie (and #2 Twins prospect) Fernando Romero left off yesterday*. In his last start against Cincinnati, Odorizzi went 6 innings, scattering 5 hits and 2 walks while allowing only 1 ER. He has averaged slightly more than 1 homerun per start this year, but is also pacing himself with 2 ER's per start as well. A good long start today would be pleasing.
On the mound for the White Sox is Reynaldo López, a 24-year-old who came over with another Chicago starter (Giolito) in the Adam Eaton trade. 0-2 on the year, López has been good in 5 starts this year with a 1.78 ERA, 236 ERA+, 4.47 FIP and 1.22 WHIP. He features a mid-to-high 90's fastball, good curve and a change. This year, he's averaged 6+ innings, 5 K and 3 BB per start with only 6 ER (and 3 HR) total. Also saw this on his Repository page - which further improved my opinion of him - explaining why his signing bonus from the Nationals was relatively low:
The lower signing bonus may have been because Lopez took several years off of baseball to finish his highschool degree, and signed at age 18.
With Dozier scuffling, and three other 'regulars' in yesterday's lineup with sub-Mendoza BA's, not to mention four with sub-.300 OBP, the Twins have been hitting ...intermittently, though not necessarily effectively. For the year, they're .198/.279/.297 with RISP - 70 SO's and .262 BABIP. Hope they can pick each other up a bit more as they try to climb out of the hole they've dug.
Though admitting this may cement my place as local baseball history ignoramus, a quick search for the featured image of
Comisky U.S. Cellular guaranteedRate Field, I (re)learned something that I may have known at one time, but seem to have forgotten. The Chicago White Sox began life as the St. Paul Saints! I will be looking for the foundation over lunch in the near future. I have an idea that I have seen it before, but need to be sure.
*that was a fun game to see... hope Romero continues his advance on securing a role in the starting rotation.
Kyle Gibson as losing streak stopper ... What could go wrong?
The Twins kick off their 2018 Central Division campaign against a young Chicago squad, (losers of 7 of their last 9 games). They went 11-7 against the 67 win club a year ago, the first under coach Rick Renteria. Renteria and GM Rick Hahn are likely hoping that trades of Sale, Eaton*, Quintana, Kahnle, Robertson and Cabrera in 2016 & '17 will begin to bear fruit.
*Today's starter for the Sox, Lucas Giolito was part of the Eaton trade with Washington. The 23-year-old has walked 7 and given up 8 runs in 11 2/3 innings to start the year, but as a former 1st round pick (#16 overall in 2012) with decent minor league numbers (3.18 ERA, 1.248 WHIP, 9.6K/9 in 497 IP over 6 seasons), and good numbers in his (limited) MLB appearances last year (7 starts, 45.1 IP, 2.38 ERA, 181 ERA+, 4.94 FIP, 0.949 WHIP), the boys should not take him lightly.
Opposing Giolito will be the Twins' José Berríos, their very own 23-year-old , former first rounder (#32 overall in 2012). With great numbers during 6 years in the minors (2.77 ERA, 1.075 WHIP, 9.6K/9 in 591 IP), it's safe to say that the big club has high expectations for the young Puerto Rican. Berríos started 25 games for the Twins in 2017, going 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA, 113 ERA+, 3.84 FIP and 1.229 WHIP. He accumulated 139 SO in 145.2 Innings Pitched and averaged 3 BB per 9. In 2018, José has already notched a win in his first career Complete Game, and been knocked out after 4 2/3 innings (5 ER on 6 Hits) in an 11-4 loss to Seattle. Excited to see which version we get in what may be the only "nice" game of the series.
I'll leave you with this: 1,998 - not too far off 2,000. I'm hoping some Citizen is able to bring us a in-person, personal clip of this momentous occasion.
Paxton had a very good year in 2017. Let's hope he carries his first start over (4.2 IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER), and not his 2.98 ERA, 143 ERA+, 2.61 FIP from last season.
Gibson gonna Gibson... did you know he had identical 5.07 ERA's in each of the past two seasons? (83 & 87 ERA+, 4.70 & 4.85 FIP's respectively). He was not efficient in his first start. We'll see what happens.