Series Preview: Southside Special
Image courtesy of © Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY SportsBrief Overview:
When you play any team 19 times in one season you’re going to get to know them quite well. Chicago knows the Twins are what they aspire to be (in a few years), and Minnesota is familiar with the up-and-coming names on the White Sox. Luis Robert did not garner a September look, so this is the same squad we’ve grown accustomed to.
What They Do Well:
At 65-84 it’s not shocking that there’s very little the White Sox do well. These two teams last played against each other on August 29th so it’s worth trying to isolate the numbers since that point.
Over the past few weeks the White Sox own the 10th best offense in baseball. That’s actually superior to the Twins, which isn’t surprising given what Minnesota has had to run out there. There isn’t a specific category that truly jumps off the page for Chicago in that time, but they have done a great job hitting for average. With a .272 batting average they have the fifth best tally dating back to the 30th.
What They Do Not Do Well:
Pitching has been pretty middle of the road for Chicago since the end of August. Lucas Giolito has continued to look the part of a staff ace and that’s helped to anchor a group that’s definitely lacking as a whole. Where Chicago really falls off, as has been the case most of the year, is in the field.
You can’t isolate defensive metrics over a sample size so small, but the White Sox have been 25th in fielding over the course of the season. They have a whopping -59 defensive runs saved and have a whole collection of guys that struggle to provide any range. It’s a dated stat, but only the Seattle Mariners have made more errors than Chicago’s 111, and that many miscues is hardly a positive.
Individuals Of Note:
The same names you’ve gotten to know all year are worth mentioning again in this space. Eloy Jimenez is the big-bat prospect that Chicago is pinning its future hopes on. Lucas Giolito is that late-blooming arm that has developed into a staff ace, and now looks like one of the best starters in baseball. Tim Anderson has electrified the sport and provided plenty of excitement all year long.
If there’re two guys that have flown a bit under the radar in terms of recognition, it’s James McCann and Yoan Moncada. The former was an All-Star (because Mitch Garver wasn’t on the ballot), and has fallen off in the second half, but he’s having a career year. The latter is a former superstar prospect that has finally met expectations and looks the part of a franchise cornerstone. McCann will need to substantiate the 2019 results, and Moncada will also, but it’s Yoan that can be a guy you build around.
Minnesota swept Chicago at the end of August on the road but dropped two of three the week before at Target Field. On the season, the Twins have gone 11-5 against the White Sox and they own a healthy +59 run differential.
The Twins wrapped up their last difficult stretch of the season going 6-6 against the Red Sox, Nationals, and Indians. Chicago is 4-6 across their last ten and have been losers in each of their last two.
Monday: Berrios vs Lopez
Tuesday: Perez vs
Wednesday: Odorizzi vs Covey
There’s no denying that Minnesota should have a healthy amount of wins awaiting them in this final 13 game stretch, but the reality is they still need to play the games and compete. The Twins bumped Jose Berrios to get another day of rest, and they should prioritize getting ready for October. They’ll get solid tests against Lopez and Giolito though, so dropping the series is something they should be keyed in on avoiding. I don’t see a sweep, but Minnesota needs to assert some home dominance against bottom feeders the rest of the way. Take two and call it good.
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