RECORDS: White Sox 65-84 Twins 91-58
GAMETIMES: Monday-Wednesday 6:40
TV: WGN Monday, NBCSN Tuesday/Wednesday
THEY LOVE HAWK: Twinkie Town
SERIES PREVIEW POSTS
After providing far too much hope for the Mariners future, the Sox head to Minneapolis to essentially form an honor guard for the Twins. Minnesota is goal-to-go for clinching the division, with a magic number of nine. They spent the weekend taking a doubleheader from the chasing Tribe, which essentially ended the discussion in the Central. 4.5 game lead with 13 games to go is going to be really hard to gag away.
So now it’s about setting up their rotation for the Division Series, getting guys rest who haven’t had it, and figuring out who can be in the bullpen and trusted with playoff innings. It’s a nice place to be, and perhaps another lesson for the White Sox on where they want to go.
That doesn’t mean the Twins are full-strength, or will be. Byron Buxton finally had to give in on his shoulder and have surgery, and he’s done for the year. Michael Pineda got suspended for taking a diuretic, which can be a masking agent but also can just be a diuretic. Still, MLB makes it pretty clear that anything taken should be checked with the training staff or league office, so if you get caught you had outs before. Still, MLB seems only to gobble up Latin players in this. Weird, no?
Which is going to leave the Twins short in the rotation, especially as they have to get through both the Astros and Yankees, in whatever order, to get to the World Series. And those two teams chew up really good pitching staffs anyway. Jose Berrios is your Game 1 starter, but other than him it’s basically Jake Odorizzi now and then a company outing. Berrios has the capability to shut anyone down on a crisp night, but he’ll most likely have to do it twice in a series for the Twins to have any chance.
Then again, the Twins aren’t going to feel like they have to apologize for anything offensively when the playoff roll around. They’ve hit more homers than anyone, so it won’t be automatic they get out-slugged in any short series. And seeing as hoe they get homers from everywhere, that makes their lineup just as hard to negotiate. It’ll be a coming out party for them in some fashion. Dylan Covey should probably just starting turning around and looking behind him now.
For the Sox, there probably is something to finishing the season strong, as after this they’ll have the long dead Tigers and recently probably dead Indians to finish out the campaign. 70 wins or 72 wins might not really matter, but it’s been a few years since the Sox eclipsed 70 wins and any step forward should be welcomed. The Twins will either already be daydreaming of October nights or hellbent on clinching ASAP to really start resetting their roster. If it’s the latter, then it’ll be worth watching how Lopez and Giolito do, not that the latter has anything to prove. Lopez kicked Cleveland’s dick in the dirt when they were hot on the trail, so maybe the brighter lights are what he needs.
And at least the Sox will be done with the Twins after this, laying the ground for bigger games with him as soon as next season, hopefully.