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Minnesota Twins vs Chicago White Sox Season Prelude

Well we’ve been talking about it for weeks now and it’s finally here. The White Sox season comes down to these three games. It’s a rough thing to swallow but anything less that a White Sox sweep here is going to all but eliminate their postseason chances because 4 games is hard to make up, especially with Minnesota playing mediocre teams for the most part the rest of the way.

Regardless, this is what to expect from the Twins in terms of a lineup:

  • Denard Span CF
  • Orlando Hudson 2B
  • Joe Mauer C
  • Jason Kubel RF
  • Michael Cuddyer 1B
  • Jim Thome DH
  • Delmon Young LF
  • Danny Valencia 3B
  • J.J. Hardy SS

The Minnesota Twins as a team have had a good time offensively against the White Sox this year. Joe Mauer leads the bunch with a .421 average against the White Sox this year to go with 9 doubles, 2 home runs, and 12 RBI. The rest of the Twins stats are as follows:

  • Michael Cuddyer: .355/.394/.500 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 10 RBI
  • Jim Thome: .353/.439/.588 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 RBI
  • Delmon Young: .333/.379/.537 5 doubles, 2 home runs, 9 RBI
  • Danny Valencia: .290/.303/.387 3 doubles, 3 RBI
  • J.J Hardy: .282/.326/.410 2 doubles, 1 home run, 5 RBI
  • Denard Span: .273/.324/.318 3 doubles, 3 RBI
  • Alexi Casilla: .273/.273/.364 1 double
  • Orlando Hudson: .271/.348/.424 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 3 RBI
  • Jason Kubel: .269/.356/.538 1 double, 2 triples, 3 home runs, 12 RBI

So unfortunately for the White Sox, there isn’t any give up and down the entire lineup with every player hitting above .260 against the White Sox this year.

The White Sox are expected to put out the same lineup they have for most games:

  • Juan Pierre LF
  • Omar Vizquel 3B
  • Alex Rios CF
  • Paul Konerko 1B
  • Manny Ramirez DH
  • Carlos Quentin RF
  • A.J Pierzynski C
  • Alexei Ramirez SS
  • Gordon Beckham 2B

The White Sox have had similar offense against the Twins, with all batters above .200 but are not hitting as well as the Twins are as a team. Paul Konerko has had the most success against the Twins this year posting a line of  .390/.455/.644 with 3 doubles, 4 home runs, and 12 RBI. With his current hot streak, especially with hitting the home run ball, there is a good chance that Konerko will be a major factor in this series. The rest of the White Sox stats against the Twins are as follows:

  • Alexei Ramirez: .345/.371/.586 8 doubles, 2 home runs, 9 RBI
  • Juan Pierre: .333/.391/.349 1 double, 5 RBI
  • Gordon Beckham: .313/.400/.479 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 6 RBI
  • Alex Rios: .297/.309/.375 5 doubles, 7 RBI
  • Omar Vizquel: .279/.295/.349 3 doubles
  • Carlos Quentin: .256/.389/.465 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 9 RBI
  • A.J Pierzynski: .245/.275/.388 7 doubles, 8 RBI

Mark Kotsay, Ramon Castro, Mark Teahen, and Andruw Jones have also had success against the Twins this season and could be very valuable off the bench late in games if the situation arises, just like Jones hit the grand slam against the Royals in a pinch hitting situation.

Pitching match-ups:

Game 1: John Danks (13-10 3.54) vs Francisco Liriano (13.7 3.24)

Francisco Liriano has been pitching very well since the All-Star break. Since then, he is 7-0 with a 2.21 ERA so it’s easy to say he’s been on a roll. He hasn’t lost a game since July 9th when he went only 1.2 innings against Detroit. He’s had a couple of rough starts since then but has given up 2 runs or less in 8 of his last 10 starts. He is 2-0 with a 4.07 ERA in 4 starts against the White Sox this season so he’s pitched well against us as well.

John Danks has had a couple of rough starts lately but has managed to go 6-4 since the beginning of July. He’s given up 5 or more runs 4 times over that period and went 1-2 over those games. He’s coming off a loss to Detroit where he gave up just 2 runs in 6 innings. He’s 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA in 5 starts against the Twins this year which shows he has had some success but he’s also given up runs which to spell doom for the White Sox in game 1.

Game 2: Gavin Floyd (10-12 3.91) vs Brian Duensing (8-2 2.02)

Duesing started out the season as a reliever. He was put into the starting rotation in the middle of July and has gone 6-1 since then. He’s coming off of an 8 inning win against the Royals where he gave up just 1 run on 6 hits. He hasn’t given up more than 4 runs in any game all season so there’s a good chance the White Sox may not score too many runs on him. He’s 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in 4 games against the White Sox this season.

Floyd has had a rough time over the past month, going 4-4 since the beginning of August. He’s had his good outings where he’s given up just a couple runs and gotten the win and he’s also had outings where he has given up 6 or more runs and taken the loss so it’s anyone’s guess which version of Gavin Floyd we will get. He’s pitched horribly against the Twins this year with a 0-3 record and a 7.41 ERA so if there is one game where the White Sox should definitely worry about, it’s this one.

Game 3: Mark Buehrle (12-10 3.99) vs Carl Pavano (16-11 3.47)

Pavano has had a rough time since starting off the season so well. He’s 3-5 since the beginning of August and is coming off of a loss to the Cleveland Indians. He is 16-11 this year so there’s no question that he could overwhelm the White Sox with his pitching and dominate the game. He is 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA against the White Sox this season so he’s pitched well more than half the time against us this year.

Buehrle has been pitching okay recently but has picked up 3 straight no decisions. He’s given up 3 or more runs in 19 of his starts this season so it’s a safe bet to assume he will give up at least a couple runs against the Twins. He’s 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA against the Twins this season so just like with Pavano, he’s pitched well against them more than half the time this year as well.

When it comes to the bullpens, they are pretty much evenly matched but the advantage has to go to the Twins. Even though their closer Matt Capps has had some issues against the White Sox this year, Bobby Jenks has pitched much worse than he has. Aside from that, both bullpens have at least 3 players with a 0.00 ERA against the opposing teams and they both have other players that have inflated ERAs against the other team and have been roughed up a bit.

Prediction:

As much as I hate to say it, even with their backs against the wall, I see the White Sox taking 2 of 3 at best. I know all you White Sox fans are going to hate me for that but I’m not going to sugar coat everything and lie to myself and the rest of you by saying they will sweep without a doubt.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they only win 1 game this series because the Twins are just playing better baseball right now and they have been since the All-Star break (Twins are 22-9, White Sox are 16-15). The season is more than likely going to end here but I’d like to see the White Sox fight and give it their all and at least make it interesting.

So here’s hoping that the White Sox make me eat my words and prove me wrong and sweep the Twins to make this a real interesting last few weeks.

And as always……… GO WHITESOX!!!!!!!!!!!!