RECORDS: White Sox 65-84   Twins 91-58

GAMETIMES: Monday-Wednesday 6:40

TV: WGN Monday, NBCSN Tuesday/Wednesday

THEY LOVE HAWK: Twinkie Town


Depth Charts & Pitching Staffs

Twins Spotlight: Dingers!

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.



Perhaps we need the Yankees to pass the Twins in home runs, so that we’ll never remember that the Minnesota Twins–the TWINS! The harbingers of annoying, ticky-tack baseball, the slappy slappy Twins!–broke the MLB record for homers by a team with five weeks to go in the season. Because it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Let our colleague Fifth Feather sum it up best:

Now, Feather’s distaste for the Twins is a touch outsized, in the same style that the Pacific Ocean is a touch outsized. Still, the fact that this Twins team is putting up numbers never before seen is truly strange, if not as insulting as our dear boy takes it. The Yankees you get, even though their biggest mashers in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have spent most of the year injured. But they’re the big, bad Yankees playing in a shoebox with a jet stream right into Vinny from Astoria’s chest in right field. That’s what the Yankees do.

But the Twins don’t have any of that. Other than Nelson Cruz, who is three days older than water, before the year you never would have picked any of these guys to hit 30 homers. Four of them have and they might get a fifth.  Then Max Kepler might double his career-high in homers (he needs four more for 40). Jorge Polanco might do the same. Mitch Garver (he’s Old Man Garver’s boy), who had never hit more than seven homers in a season, has 30. Aren’t there laws against that? Eddie Rosario has over 30, and CJ Cron is close. Also, Target Field is not exactly a hitter’s paradise, being one of the worst homer parks in the league for years now.

The Twins will tell you that it’s a matter of Rosario, Kepler, Polanco all coming of age, that they were always destined for this. That might be true to a point, but you can’t help ignore what the baseball has done for the Twins. And hey, more power to them, if they’re figured out to just keep getting the ball in the air with this Titleist and reap the wins from it.

The Twins score over half their runs on homers, and while baseball will feign ignorance on changes in the ball, that’s about the weakest conspiracy they’ve ever concocted, including collusion. Fuck, they bought Rawlings last year. How stupid do they think we are?

What MLB is going to have to figure out is if this is the brand of baseball fans want. No fault to the Twins, they’re just playing the game as it is now, and mostly better than anyone. But if homers are no longer unique but merely holding serve, they lose any specialty. And judging by TV ratings and attendance, though there are other factors, fans haven’t exactly flocked back to see this avalanche of dingers.

It’s a different game for sure, but one where even less happens. A homer is technically action, but it’s supposed to be the apex of a baseball game. A definitive pivot point. The spike in the EKG. Now it almost feels like it’s no different than a three in basketball. A brief surge but pretty normal throughout the game. If this continues to be the norm, it’s hard to see how it brings fans back that have already left (or in baseball’s case, likely died) Is this what the younger generation wants? It’s most likely MLB has no idea what the younger generation wants.

One wonders what teams like the Twins will do if the baseball goes back, if it does. Maybe they’d just hit a ton of doubles and be fine. Maybe they’d keep flying out to the warning track and never score.


I sincerely hate the Minnesota Twins, but I have to give them credit where it’s due. In an age where the way you build an MLB team has changed completely from buying through free agency to building through youth and farm systems they’ve managed to land at the forefront of that particular revolution. It’s hard to say if they read the tea leaves correctly 5 years ago and just kept doing what they were doing, or if they just lucked into this by being cheap everywhere but their scouting, but either way it’s working out at an annoyingly high level.

Just looking at their current roster (which as of today still leads the league in team slugging percentage) it’s chock full of home-grown talent that includes the following on offense: Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton, Mitch Garver and Jake Cave. The total WAR of that science lab creation of slugging so far this season is 17.1.  In comparison to the WAR generated by the homegrown talent of the White Sox offense (which is 27th of 30 in the league for slugging) is merely 9.3 (Eloy, Abreu, Moncada, Anderson, Yolmer and Engel). That’s not a very sightly set of stats for the Sox offense, and it paints the Twins in a pretty impressive light. HOWEVER! If you go back to the same group of players for the Twins last season, you get….9.7 WAR from those guys combined. Take those numbers and add in the fact that the Twins were 78-84 last season makes the differences between the Sox and the Twins a little easier to swallow, and maybe even adds a slight feeling of hope in there.

So you have the 2019 White Sox, who are pretty close to what the 2018 Twins were: Some high level prospects with a ton of talent and not a lot of major league experience combined with an untested pitching staff and shitty hydra for a 5th starter. Does that mean the Sox will lead the league in slugging next year? Probably not, but it provides a little insight into just how much time in the oven baking a professional team takes. It’s been forever since the Sox had to create a contender this way, so fans can be forgiven if they’ve forgotten how this type of rebuild goes. You’d have to go back to the early 2000s to find a team that was as built from the bottom up as this one is now.  Just look at this chart that shows top 10 Sox minor league prospects from the past decade (as decided by Be warned, it’s not a pretty sight.

Hahahaha Trayce Thompson and Courtney Hawkins…good times, good times. That chart before the 2017 time frame is like looking directly into the Ark of the Covenant, except when you look into the Ark your head explodes so you don’t have to see a list with Jared Mitchell in the top 5 prospects anymore. Things after 2017 start to look much, much better (unless your name is Carson Fulmer), and resembles an actual major league farm system.

Now look at the same chart, but for the Twins:

God dammit I fucking hate them.

If there were a blueprint for how to build an MLB team through quality scouting and franchise-wide patience, it would look exactly like that. Even the guys who aren’t with the Twins anymore are pretty quality. Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia and Ben Revere were/are all serviceable MLB players (In the case of Hicks, a little more than “serviceable”). In addition to that, they still have 2 top 20 ranked prospects in Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff sitting in AAA waiting for their chance. The Twins think so highly of both these players that they passed at legit chances to upgrade their struggling starting rotation a few weeks ago because teams were sniffing around those two.

The Twins have always done it this way, ever since Terry Ryan took over as GM for them back in 1995. He engineered many of the Twins teams that I absolutely despised in the early 2000s by using the “New England Patriots” method of shipping off players just before they were due to get paid for younger, cheaper talent. He snagged Johan Santana off the Marlins in the Rule 5 draft. He traded eventual Sox Legend AJ Pierzynski to the Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser (best fake name ever). He also increased the money the franchise spent on scouting for the first time in decades. Ryan stayed with the Twins until 2016 when Thad Levine was hired away from the Indians after their loss to the Cubs in the World Series. Levine was cut from the same cloth that Ryan was, having helped build Cleveland into the contender it was through the same methods Ryan did. He helped draft Carlos Santana, Francisco Lindor, and Jose Ramierez so he knew how to build through the lower levels of the minors.

The Sox in that same period continued along the path that Kenny Williams set them on in 2006, consistently trading away promising young talent for one last gasp after another, year after year, until finally the team had no choice but to trade away the best pitcher in the history of the organization to jump start a clinically deceased farm system. Now that the team started the season ranked 4th overall in the league for their minor league system, the question that falls before Rick Hahn and company is can they develop players they draft? They’ve been able to trade for other team’s well scouted minor leaguers, and had pretty good success bringing them along. The Sox international scouting crew has been nothing short of aces so far, but the continental US team has been pretty hit or miss. Has Nick Hostetler done enough at the lower levels to reap the kind of benefits the Twins have done for decades? Is Chris Getz the guy to guide the next round of Sox prospects to AAA and beyond?

The Sox farm system was absolutely decimated by a plague of injuries this season that bordered on the biblical, so the only grade that can really be given so far is “incomplete.” It will be very interesting to see how Zack Collins, Nick Madrigal and Andrew Vaughn fare at the higher levels in the next few seasons as they have the potential to solidify the Sox lineup like Kepler and Polanco have done for the Twins thus far.

Fingers crossed.





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!