[picappgallerysingle id=”9416502″]After all these years of a gaggle of Chicago White Sox lineups, rotations and bullpens being psyched out by the Minnesota Twins, the South Siders may have finally found the Achilles heel of their tormentors.
No matter how pedestrian (and low-paid and inexperienced) his starting rotation, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire could always play a “five-and-fly” game — get the starter out after five to employ a deep and versatile bullpen.
But with the Sox’s impending signing of Twins setup man Jesse Crain and the probable dismantling of much of the rest of the Minnesota ‘pen via free agency, the number of rabbits Gardenhire can pull out of his hat appear to be diminished. And this comes at a time the Twins, a powerful regular-season team who always find an August-September edge over the Sox, have come to the realization they don’t have the lockdown, dominant starting pitching that will enable them to compete with the Yankees, their own tormentors, and other foes in the do-or-die atmosphere of the postseason.
Sox general manager Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen certainly will make good use of Crain as the primary setup man. They need to find another starting pitcher as insurance for a slow, or perhaps no, comeback from Jake Peavy. But one more durable setup man to get the game to Matt Thornton and Chris Sale, with the Twins inexplicably slow to respond in a buyer’s market for relief pitchers, could provide the edge over the long season.
The Twins’ sound philosophy is to rely on their farm system and a tight team discipline to get the best out of their players. At some point, though, the well might run dry on heavy-duty home-grown relievers or late-season trades or waiver pickups. Wall-to-wall sellouts at Target Field beg for GM Bill Smith to take action with his increased financial base.
Now’s the time for Jerry Reinsdorf to allow Williams to pounce and go for the kill. The Sox have been bounced around too long by the Twins to not do it any other way.