The Twins come back home after a 5-1 road trip, most recently off their first four game sweep in Texas. While the road treated them well, the home stadium has been less inviting as of late; the Twins have dropped 5 out of their last 6 at Target Field.
Coming into town are the White Sox, who just lost 3 out of 4 in Anaheim. Crossing fingers for the Twins to extend the B-Sox's recent road woes. Hopefully Good Gibby will face off against Ivan Nova, who's been white hot lately (ba dum tss!).
Apparently battling the White Sox is easier than battling the Yankees or A's, or... any good team, really. Apparently pitching Jose Berrios helps too.
Tonight Big Mike gets to keep the train rolling, and, more to the point, hopefully the batters do their part against Dylan Cease in his 4th big league start. So far he's faced the Tigers, Royals, and Tampa, none of whom are quite known for their offense in the same way, so... this should be a good test for the kid. Of course, these new guys often present their own kind of challenge, so hopefully the Twins can solve him early and thoroughly.
A few more HRs would be nice too. We haven't passed a previous year's HR total in almost 24 hours.
Also, I adore that the White Sox have a downward facing arrow in their signage. Someone really wasn't thinking there, were they?
Minnesota & Chicago have identical 3-7 records over their past 10 games and both have lost two in a row. The difference being, the Twins faced the Yankees, Athletics, Mets (derp) and Cleveland while Chicago managed that against the Marlins, Rays and Royals. On the season, Minnesota has scored 576 runs and given up 468 for a run differential of +108. The White Sox have plated 418 and given up 514 runs for a differential of -96.
So ... you're thinking this should be a bounce back
game series after the heartbreaker on Tuesday and non-competitive start last night? We'll see - 24-year-old Chicago Ace and former 1st rounder Lucas Giolito has seemingly "figured it out" over 19 starts this year to the tune of 3.14 ERA, 1.092 WHIP, 134 K's in 112.2 innings pitched. He's leading his team in WAR at 3.8 (a full 'Win' ahead of their #2 player, catcher James McCann). All that said, 3 of his 4 losses have come in his past four starts (though the lone 'W' in there was against the Twins on June 30).
After watching Twins starters struggle mightily over the past 10 games (only Gibson secured a starter 'W'), it'd be nice to see José Berríos get the group back on more solid ground. Unfortunately, Berríos hasn't won a start since June 6 (1-3 w/ 4 no decisions) though he has had some nice games where the Ass Bats© did him no favors - he's had 5 or more runs of support only three times in that span. We can only hope that the seemingly awakened Bomba Squad continues to hit; José - and the club - could use a laugher.
52-28. That's where the Twins are today. And they're either going to be 52-29 or 53-28 after the first half of games. I'm struggling to find their best first half ever, but this has to be somewhere towards the top, right? Anyway, good for them. And for us.
After a loooong loss yesterday, I think there's some concern about how the Twins will bounce back. A weekend trip to Chicago hopefully serves as the refresher. Berrios on the mound should help. It'll be hot this weekend, and hopefully the bats take a hint from the weather.
Anyway, it's my youngest's birthday today, so I'd better go finish up her cake (inspired by one of Jeff A's cake pictures here on the site - the rainbow one). Let's hope the Twins can deliver a birthday present for her!
So. This team can put it in the seats , sure. But can they grind out nine innings of stringing together a bit every other inning, scoring a single run while pitching to contact and losing by six? Because I think I speak for everyone when I say that is the kind of baseball we've become accustomed to in Minnesota.
Until these guys know what it means to consistently load the bases with infield singles, then run themselves out of the inning by getting picked off each one of the bases, are these guys even Minnesota Twins? I submit that they are not.
But I suppose they'll do.
Twins play the White Sox at "The Rate" tonight as they head into the last 6 weeks of the season. Last month I was at Guaranteed Rate Ballpark to see a Sox-Royals game and was pleasantly surprised at the ballpark. It was intimate with many "modern" facilities, open concourses, etc. A much more blue collar crowd than what you would find at Target Field, plus a lot of young, rowdy people. It was a fun Saturday afternoon. Interesting in that it feels like a suburban location. Ample parking, virtually no restaurants or bars in the neighborhood, view of the Interstate.
Jose Berrios up against Michael Kopech tonight. This will be the Major League debut for Kopech and Sox fans are excited. He was the key piece in the Chris Sales trade a couple of years ago and he is a 23-year old flame thrower, touching 100 mph with his fast ball (duh) relatively consistently. Apparently there is video of him hitting 110 mph on a radar gun, but some stories are that was rigged. He walks a ton too, which must be terrifying for a batter. Should be interesting to watch, the White Sox sure hope his debut is better than Gonsalves was last night.
Game at 7:10p Look for HJ in the crowd.
Stevie G makes his MLB debut in Mostly Meaningless (Makeup) Baseball Theater against something called a Giolito. I'm at least invested in them beating the White Sox. Go Twins!
Odorizzi v. Giolito
Getaway Day Recently-regular lineup.
Twins embark on the great Upper Midwest Baseball Tour(TM) with a three game stint against the Southside Pale Hosers. At 25 games under .500, the Sox are as bad as advertised so it would be nice to take all three games this week before heading into the friendly confines of Wrigley over the weekend.
Lance Lynn on the mound for the Twins. He's as excruciating slow as ever, but at least he's been productive with a 4-1 record and 1.73 ERA in his last 5 starts. Reynaldo Lopez on the mound for the White Sox, coming off a pretty bad outing against Cleveland (or was it Toronto?). Game may take 3.5 hours but I like the Twins chances.
First pitch at The Rate. Potential for rain is receding in Chicago, so hopefully the tour can start off with a win.
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.