Records: Twins 76-48 White Sox 55-68
Gametimes: Monday/Tuesday 7:10, Wednesday 12:10
TV: Monday WGN, Tuesday/Wednesday NBCSN
Where The Wild Things Are: Puckett’s Pond
Ugh, these assholes again.
Since the last meeting between these two teams (in which the Twins took three of four from the Sox) life has been somewhat of a mixed bag for the Towering Terror of the Twin Cities. After winning the series against the Sox, the Twins took two of three from Miami and swept the Royals. All good, right? Well then the Braves came to town and took the series against them, then shortly thereafter Cleveland showed up and not only took three of four, but tied them for 1st place in the Central in a Sunday afternoon matchup that saw Carlos Santana plunge the dagger in Taylor Rogers heart with a walk off grand slam in extra innings that wiped out a nice Twins comeback in the bottom of the 9th.
Unfortunately the dagger wasn’t made of silver, because since then the Twins have won five of six, including a four game sweep of the Rangers this past weekend and have retaken first place from the Tribe (who now sit 2.5 games behind). They just won’t die. The Twins still sit at 4th best in the AL for hitting, having fallen behind the Yankees only because the Yankees played the Orioles seven times so far in August alone. The Twins still inexplicably lead the entire league in slugging percentage at .499, almost a full .010 ahead of the second place Yankees. The fact that they’re able to power the ball so much when they play so many games in their stadium with the cavernous outfield is even more impressive. Marwin Gonzalez has caught fire after a slow start, having hit .362 since the page flipped to August. Max Kepler continues to hit for power, mashing 10 taters since he last saw the Sox. Byron Buxton is still on the IL with a laundry list of maladies, this time with his shoulder. It’s severe enough that the Twins aren’t expecting him back until at least the beginning of September.
The rotation for the Twins is still scuffling a bit as Kyle Gibson and Jose Berrios both have seen their respective ERAs rise more than a point in the month of August. Michael Pineda has returned from his stint on the IL and righted the ship, having only given up 11 runs since the beginning of July, and despite his peripherals looking hilariously bad Jake Odorizzi has a 2.08 ERA so far this month and managed to shut down the Tribe in their only win that series.
The Twins bullpen has been a mixed bag since trading for some fresh faces at the deadline. Former closer now LOOGY Sergio Romo has appeared in nine games and given up three runs in that span, all in one game against the Braves. The other big acquisition Sam Dyson has gotten shelled out of the gate with his new team, giving up seven runs in 3.1 innings. In addition to that, closer Taylor Rogers hasn’t been as sharp as he was in May and June. He got charged with the loss against the Indians mentioned above and blew two other saves since the trade deadline. With Dyson being so shaky his job seems safe for the time being, however.
As for the Sox, they seem to have corrected the offensive malaise that infected them throughout the entire series with Oakland, having pounded out 40 runs in their last seven games. Ivan Nova has continued his excellent run since the All-Star break, having only given up 12 earned runs in 53 innings since the beginning of July. This has included some starts against pretty stalwart offenses like Houston, Philly, Cubs, and these Twins. I’ve said since the beginning that Nova would be a fine 5th starter on a contending team, and he’s making his case to stick around to see that possibility. The Sox will also toss out Lopez and Giolito, both of whom have had pretty good success since the break.
The key to this series is the same as it was against Houston last week. The starters need to keep the Twins big bats off the board, and the offense take advantage of a middling bullpen where they can. It’s looking like Yoan Moncada will be back for this series after his rehab stint in Charlotte, which will be a nice boost both offensively and defensively. Having him and Leury Garcia back in the lineup will make the Sox offense as potent as it’s been all year. Well, at least until Luis Robert gets here in a few weeks. Fuck the Twins, take two of three from them.
Lets Go Sox!