Baseball

Series Preview – Twins vs. White Sox: The Evil Has Landed

                 VS

Records: Twins 52-38   White Sox 37-41

Gametimes: Friday – 7:10/Saturday – 3:10/Sunday – 1:10

TV: Friday/Saturday NBCSN – Sunday WGN

Uff Da: Puckett’s Pond

Pitching Matchups:

Jose Berrios vs. TBD

Michael Pineda vs. Chevy Nova

Kyle Gibson vs. Lucas Giolito

PROBABLE TWINS LINEUP

  1. Max Kepler – CF
  2. Jorge Polanco – SS
  3. Nelson Cruz – DH
  4. Mitch Garver – C
  5. Luis Arraez – LF
  6. Eddie Rosario – RF
  7. Jonathan Schoop – 2B
  8. CJ Cron – 1B
  9. Miguel Sano – 3B

 

PROBABLE WHITE SOX LINEUP

  1. Leury Garcia – SS
  2. Yoan Moncada – 3B
  3. Jose Abreu – 1B
  4. James McCann (C/DH)
  5. Eloy Jimenez – LF
  6. Jon Jay – RF
  7. Zack Collins (C/DH)
  8. Yolmer Sanchez (2B)
  9. Ryan Cordell (CF)

 

So the White Sox managed to avoid Total Disaster for at least a few days, but now it looms large again in their windshield with the arrival of the world destroying monster that is the…Minnesota Twins?  Yeah, no kidding, I don’t get it either.  What a difference a year makes.  This time last season the Twins were moping along in the middle of the AL Central, nothing really special.  Both their young breakout stars in Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton had soul crushingly bad regression years, so bad that they were both sent down to AAA.  One of the two (Buxton) turned his shit around and set the world on fire down there, only to be roundly ignored by Twins management in what can only be described as service time manipulation.  Miguel Sano continued playing shitty, then ended up lacerating his foot somehow, and spent the entire offseason recovering from surgery.  The difference between the two has continued, as Buxton has been mashing the ball, and Sano (having missed all of spring training recovering) has been striking out in approximately half his at bats.  Normally the Twins probably would’ve sent Sano back down, but due to a rash of injuries he’s been forced to work through his issues at the big league level.

Elsewhere on the infield, Jorge Polanco is raking at a clip that earned him a spot on the AL all star team next month.  He’s hitting a cool .321 with an over 900 OPS.  I don’t know how sustainable this is, as his career OPS is somewhere around the range of  .780, and his BABIP sits at .350, which hints at some regression coming.  That being said, he’s currently the most dangerous hitter in the Twins lineup along with Max Kepler, who’s corrected most of his K issues from last year, while retaining his power levels.

The Twins pitching staff is fronted by ace Jose Berrios, their best pitching prospect since Johan Santana rolled his way through the AL central.  He’s backed up by a career year from Jake Odorizzi (who the Sox miss this turn) who has somehow not let an insanely high fly ball rate turn into a bunch of gopher balls.  Reclamation project Michael Pineda continues his return from maladies that included tommy john and knee surgeries.  When healthy during his tenure with the Yankees he struck people out at a very high rate, but was susceptible to the long ball.  That continues this season, where his HR per 9 stands at an unsightly 1.67.  Next closest on the rotation is Kyle Gibson with a 1.25.

For the Sox, the main storyline right now is the injuries to Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada.  Timmy figures to be out at least a month with a high ankle sprain, while Moncada is dealing with a contusion to his knee.  Yoan figures to be day-to-day and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts tonight.  If he can’t go, it would probably mean Jose Rondon taking reps at 3rd.  Zack Collins figures to get more playing time now that Yonder Alonso has been DFA-ed to the Big AAA In The Sky.  Who is starting on the mound for the Sox tonight is yet to be determined, but with no moves as of yet, it figures to be a bullpen game.  If Carson Fulmer can repeat the efficiency that he showed against the Red Sox the other day, perhaps letting him go 3 to 4 innings might help an overtaxed bullpen.  Ivan Nova goes Saturday, with Giolito taking the bump Sunday.  They’ll all have their work cut out for them, as the Twins lead the AL in most offensive categories and score runs at an alarming rate.  Anything but a sweep here will probably feel like a win, so Lets Go Sox!

 

 

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