MINNESOTA 8, CHICAGO 2 IN CHICAGO
Date: Wednesday, August 28.
Batting stars: Mitch Garver was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twenty-fourth), a hit-by-pitch, and two runs. Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his twentieth and twenty-first) and four RBIs. Jorge Polanco was 2-for-5 with a double.
Pitching stars: Jake Odorizzi struck out eight in six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks. Trevor May struck out three in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit. Cody Stashak pitched two shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Jose Abreu was 2-for-4 with a double. Tim Anderson was 2-for-4 with a double. Jimmy Cordero pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit.
The game: Doubles by Leury Garcia and Abreu put the White Sox on the board in the first inning with a 1-0 lead. The Twins came right back in the second. Eddie Rosario led off with a bloop single, Ehire Adrianza hit a two-out single, and Schoop came through with a three-run homer, putting the Twins up 3-1. They added two in the third on just one hit. Garver was hit by a pitch, Jorge Polanco doubled, and Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked to fill the bases. A force out brought home one run and an error brought home another, making the score 5-1. The Twins again loaded the bases in the fourth, getting two-out singles from Garver and Polanco and another intentional walk to Cruz, but Rosario grounded out to end the threat.
Chicago got a run back in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Yoan Moncada and Anderson singled and Eloy Jimenez walked, giving the White Sox loaded bases. They were not more successful than the Twins, getting a force out to bring home one run, but no more. Chicago put two on with two out in the fifth, but could do nothing with that, either.
The Twins put the game out of reach in the eighth. With one out, Schoop homered, Jake Cave doubled, and Garver homered, making the score 8-2.
WP: Odorizzi (14-6). LP: Ross Detwiler (2-4). S: None.
Notes: Cave was in center in the absence of Byron Buxton. Adrianza was in right in the absence of both Max Kepler and Marwin Gonzalez. An outfield of Rosario-Cave-Adrianza is obviously less than ideal, but the Twins don't have a lot of options. LaMonte Wade has just started a rehab assignment in Pensacola. Zander Weil is probably the next-best outfielder in Rochester, but I know nothing about his defense. The best option may be to hope Kepler and Gonzalez can bounce back quickly.
I see that Miguel Sano was hit by a pitch and was eventually replaced by Luis Arraez. I don't know whether that's something to be concerned about. Arraez was 1-for-2 and is now batting .336.
The first three batters hit Odorizzi pretty hard, but he certainly settled down after that. He allowed only three more hits and one more run over the next six innings. That's the Odorizzi the Twins need. The bullpen came through as well. Trevor May has quietly been pitching quite well over the last month. In his last eleven games (12.1 innings), he has given up just one earned run on five hits and three walks and has struck out fifteen. Other than one game against Atlanta, Stashak has also done pretty well.
In his last five games, Schoop has gone 6-for-17. That's good, but what's really impressive is that five of the six hits have gone over the fence. That's a slugging average of 1.235, which I'm pretty sure would be a record if you did it for a season. He won't do it for the season, of course, but it's a pretty good run, even in a small sample size.
Today the Twins go for the sweep. Whether they get will depend to a large extent on whether Jose Berrios can pitch like Jose Berrios. I said a couple of weeks ago that he was not one of the Twins' problems, and since then he's gone out and proven me wrong. In his four August starts, he is 0-2, 8.44, 1.97 WHIP. The Twins say it's an issue with his mechanics. Hopefully a trip to Wes Johnson's repair shop has solved his mechanical problems and he can get back to pitching the way the Twins need him to.
Record: The Twins are 81-51, in first place, 3.5 games ahead of Cleveland.
Projected record: We're still on track for 111-51!