Notebook 9/18: Better Fortunes Across the Windy City
Yesteday's Game Recap
CHW 4, MIN 3: Donaldson Ejection Steals the Show, White Sox Take Series
Twins (31-21) @ Cubs (30-20), 7:15 pm CDT
Twins Starter: Rich Hill, LHP (2-1, 3.81 ERA)
Drafted by the Cubs in the 4th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball draft, there has to be a sense of home for Mr. Mountain. Despite pitching over 300 innings with Chicago, he’s faced them for a grand total of 13. Six starts in 2020 have generated just a total of 26.0 IP, and while the 3.81 ERA isn’t disastrous by any means, Hill would certainly like more.
Coming off the surgery this offseason, Hill’s productivity was always going to be a question mark. He’s not at all a stranger to the operating table, but now he’s returning having hit 40 years old. The walks are up, strikeouts are down, and the command looks just a bit off.
Efficiency is going to need a bit of tweaking if Hill wants to find his way as the veteran option on Minnesota’s Postseason staff. He’s been doing the same type of thing for a long time, and flipping the big bender is an worthy process when all things are clicking.
Cubs Starter: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (5-4, 3.29 ERA)
If there’s a right-handed clone of Hill, it’s Hendricks. Another soft tosser built on great offspeed stuff, the Cubs righty has been giving the opposition fits for years. Hendricks did not start the year needing to fend of injury concern and he came out of the gates firing. With a complete game shutout against the Brewers, it would be hard to top that debut performance.
When looking to solve Hendricks the Twins should be keyed in on his two outings against the Cincinnati Reds. Having kept all other opponents to three runs or less, both times the Reds faced him they were able to get the right for five-plus.
This will be the third start Hendricks makes in 2020 against the American League Central division. He has faced both the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians, winning both of those games while being virtually on cruise control.
Twins Starting Lineup:
What to Watch for:
- At the end of yesterday’s game Rocco Baldelli lifted the strong hitting rookie Ryan Jeffers in place of Willians Astudillo. Lineup construction has been a point on contention down the stretch and seeing who contributes, along with how it’s managed through, will be interesting.
- Byron Buxton is a man on fire. He has six homers in his last 6 starts and has four in his last three games. Had MLB not wiped out his first inside-the-park tally that would go up another digit.
- The Twins needed to cover three innings of work out of the bullpen yesterday. Sergio Romo blew his first save and scuffled, but Taylor Rogers should be available for Minnesota this evening.
Chicago White Sox 33-17 (+80 run differential)
Minnesota Twins 31-21 (+45)
Cleveland Indians 27-23 (+36)
Detroit Tigers 21-28 (-63)
Kansas City Royals 21-29 (-23)