Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Sox 3 – Twins 5

Game 2: Sox 8 – Twins 9

Game 3: Sox 3 – Twins 1

 

Honestly, this is the kind of stuff I want to see these last 11 games of the season. The wins and losses at this point are immaterial to the final product going in to the off-season, as individual performance carries much more weight in my opinion. Which in and of itself is odd since baseball is a team sport and all, but for a club like the Sox that has another losing season in a long string of them you have to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, it’s starting to shine a bit brighter.

The second game of the series is the epitome of what I’m talking about. Yes, the bullpen exploded pretty spectacularly in extra innings, but the way the Sox GOT to extra innings, then went ahead two separate times is the kind of stuff I want to see. 13 hits banged out by the middle of the order (all members of The Future™) capped off by a beautiful bomb by Tim Anderson in the top of the 10th inning. Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer and Kelvin Herrera all holding down the fort in the middle innings to keep the team in the game. These are all GOOD THINGS, people! GOOD ASS THINGS!

TO THE BULLETS OF THE FUTURE!

 

IT’S SUCH GOOD SHIT

Tim F’n Anderson. Bangs out five more hits to bring his average up to .335, sitting .006 in front of Boomhauer lookalike DJ LeMahieu. A beautiful moonshot in extra innings, sprinkled with some quality defense in this series including a great snag deep in the hole off of the bat of Miguel Sano that was an absolute missile. He’s fun, and if you don’t enjoy that then you shouldn’t be watching baseball.

-Despite the meltdown in extra innings on Tuesday night, the Sox bullpen actually deserves some props for keeping the team in it after the starting rotation blew up even more with Lucas Giolito being shut down due to a lat strain. They picked up the ball and ran with it after Reynaldo Lopez and Boss Detwiler each gave up five runs in 5+ innings. Bummer, Marshall, Fry, Herrera…hell, even Carson Fulmer pitched multiple innings and gave the Twins nothing to work with. A solid bullpen is going to be necessary next year with multiple starters returning from Tommy John surgeries who will need innings monitored closely. This is a good start.

Eloy’s batting average continues to climb like the temperature. He’s now up to a .264/.314/.811 slash line. If he ends anywhere near a .270/.330/.875 line I don’t see how you could consider his first year anything other than a success. With seven games left on the docket against the Tigers, I like those odds.

Reynaldo Lopez had another one of his down starts following a good one. Consistency is never going to be a hallmark of his, but if he’s your 5th starter I think your rotation is gonna be pretty damn solid. He’s definitely earned a spot going into spring training.

-Psssst…Yoan Moncada is batting .312 and is just as awesome as Timmy.

Zack Collins hit home runs in back to back games, and is looking a little more comfortable up at the plate. His defense behind it, however, is not.

-I was at an air traffic control conference this week (shock) in Las Vegas (more shock), and the theme of the conference was “Make Every Day A Training Day.” One of the guest speakers was White Sox alum Ron Kittle, who spoke about the training and preparation levels that the professional baseball players of today need to have. He happened to notice me after the panel with my Sox hat on and chatted with me for a bit. The biggest nugget he mentioned was the fact that Luis Robert might be the best of them all. Kittle said he reminded him of a young Roberto Clemente, but with more power. Wow.

-6:30 night games for the 3rd game in a series when you have to work at 6am the next morning sucks. Do better, MLB.

-Next up for the Sox are the Tigers, who are in danger of being relegated to the California Penal League. Lets hope the remainder of the Sox starting pitching staff are able to keep their elbows attached to their bodies for the remainder of the season. The end is nigh.

Baseball

vs.

 

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!