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Article: Series Preview: Tired Twins Head to Chicago's South Side

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#1 Matt Braun

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 07:04 AM

After a winning series (and technically homestand) against the Rays that unfortunately ended with an absolutely brutal 18 inning loss, the tired Twins will head over to Chicago for a three-game series. Somehow this is the first time all year that they will play in Chicago and just the second time they will play the White Sox this year despite being, you know, in the same division and all.Brief Overview
Out of the triforce of tanking AL Central teams, the White Sox have pulled ahead of the dreadful Royals and the atrocious Tigers as a solidly below-average team, somehow a step up over the aforementioned squads. Despite ultimately coming up short in the Machado sweepstakes and being relatively quiet over the offseason except for signing Kelvin Herrera, the White Sox have taken a small step forward thanks to a few internal players realizing their potential along with the help of a breakout from a familiar but unlikely catcher. With a record of 37-41 and a pythag W/L of 33-45, the White Sox will look to be an annoyance to a Twins franchise that is all too familiar with scrappiness.

What They Do Well
In digging through their team numbers, it became obvious that there really is not one thing that this team excels at but there are not many things that they do horribly, just a constant below-average squad by most major metrics that I could find.

They are very good at running the bases as Fangraphs has their team baserunning as the sixth best in all of baseball, somehow above the pesky Royals that just gave the Twins some fits not too long ago. They have the 11th-most steals in baseball which isn’t ridiculously high, so most of their quality baserunning can probably be attributed to them taking extra bases on balls in play while not running themselves into outs.

That’s it, honestly. I could not actually find much that was notable as far as what this team does notably well. They have the second highest offensive batting average on balls in play (BABIP) in baseball at a .320 mark (Denard Span’s Twins BABIP was .320) which is certainly interesting but I don’t know how much of a skill that is. I guess just keep in mind that they might have some better “luck” on balls being put into play than the Twins.

What They Do Not Do Well
Everything? Again, they aren’t truly horrendous in a lot of categories, but often they fall in the 20th-25th range when being compared to the rest of baseball. Their team wRC+ of 92 is 20th in all of baseball and just 2 points lower than Luis Castillo’s Twins wRC+. Their team FIP is 25th in baseball at 4.91 which is slightly worse than Tommy Milone’s Twins FIP of 4.85. Their pitching staff as a whole hold the second worst BB/9 in baseball at 3.85 which is just a hair better than what Kohl Stewart has done in his Twins career so far (3.93 BB/9 for Stewart). Their defense ranks as the eighth worst in baseball which when combined with their pitching staff’s walk rate could mean that the White Sox might beat themselves more often than the Twins beat them as they will most likely shoot themselves in the foot quite a few times.

Individuals Of Note
I mentioned before that the White Sox have had a few players from the inside who have broken out this year and that remains true even after about a page and a half of typing. Yoan Moncada has hit to the tune of a 130 wRC+ and has already put up a career high 2.5 fWAR (this does come with a sky high .387 BABIP). Tim Anderson has a career high 120 wRC+ and is knocking on the door of a new career-high in fWAR (1.8 now, 2.1 in his rookie year) but this also comes with a high BABIP of .373. Longtime Tigers catcher and All-Star starter voting finalist James McCann has almost doubled his career wRC+ as he currently sits at a 143 mark thanks to a few mechanical changes in his swing. But, and stop me if you have heard this, this comes with a frankly insane .413 BABIP (gee, I wonder why their team BABIP is so high…). Unfortunately for the White Sox, both Anderson and Moncada suffered injuries recently and their status for the series is up in the air.

On the pitching side, the big story has been the breakout of Lucas Giolito who has put aside a terrible 2018 season and has dropped his ERA by over half (6.13 in 2018, 2.87 in 2019) with the peripherals to support it. So far he has been the ninth most valuable starting pitcher in baseball by fWAR with the same 2.8 mark that José Berríos currently holds on the year. There have been a number of changes that Giolito made thanks to winter spent with his high school pitching coach, but most notable has been an arm action that hides the ball better and an increased emphasis on his changeup. Right now it looks like he will pitch the Sunday game so be prepared for a much better Giolito than we all saw last year.

Recent History
Since this is only the second time these teams have matched up this year, there is not much recent history to go off of. The Twins and White Sox faced off at Target Field in a series that started on May 24th and the Twins were ruthlessly efficient in beating them by seven runs in each game.
Ending Thoughts
As I said in my last write-up, road divisional series are never anything to take for granted, the other team will also be looking to play spoiler and weird stuff tends to happen. The White Sox are a passable squad (less so if Moncada and Anderson miss time) and I can absolutely see them giving the Twins a good fight especially in the Sunday game with Giolito on the mound. I expect the Twins to take two but I also would not be shocked if the White Sox took two instead, especially depending on the roster moves after that 18-inning nightmare the Twins just played and the injuries they are currently nursing. But however it goes, I just pray for everyone’s sanity that no game goes into extras.

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#2 VATwinsFan

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 08:41 AM

Cleveland is in Baltimore for the weekend so you know what that means.


#3 SpicyGarvSauce

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 08:54 AM

 

Cleveland is in Baltimore for the weekend so you know what that means.

 

Dingers. Lots of dingers.

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#4 VATwinsFan

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 09:00 AM

Somehow Baltimore has two starters (Means and Cashner) who actually have winning records (6-4 and 7-3, respectively, and they account for 13 of the O's 22 victories).

 

Cleveland is starting Clevinger, Plesac and Bieber.

 

Baltimore is starting Means, Cashner and Ynoa.

 

The Twins could luck out and have the O's take 2 of 3.Then again, the O's have lost 13 of their last 14.


#5 Doomtints

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 09:18 AM

We've been having storms in Chicago seemingly every day this summer. They are brief but I could see a lot of home runs flying in this humidity.

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#6 David HK

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 09:58 AM

Watch out.

 

Some of those young Sox are starting to figure things out, plus we're going to get our first look at Giolito since he turned the page this year and became such a stud starter.

 

This could be a heck of a tough series, especially with so many key guys hurt- although Tim Anderson's injury is going to have them missing their catalyst.


#7 Doomtints

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 10:56 AM

The Sox have one starter but also a good closer and set up guy.

 

The top of the order can hit but they have no bench to speak of. They have been plagued by the injury bug which compounds this.

 

They are an incomplete team, but they have a couple of pieces that can make them a tough team to beat from time to time. The Twins should be prepared to take these games seriously.

Edited by Doomtints, 28 June 2019 - 11:14 AM.

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#8 jimbo92107

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 11:09 AM

Sounds like the White Sox have team speed and one good starting pitcher. I'm okay with that. Carry on, Super Twinkies!

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#9 gbg

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 11:23 AM

"The Twins and White Sox faced off at Target Field in a series that started on May 24th and the Twins were ruthlessly efficient in beating them by 7 runs in each game. The White Sox took that series but I have a feeling that the series does not reflect the 2019 Twins very well."

 

Wait...huh?

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#10 jokin

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 11:30 AM

 


Recent History
Since this is only the second time these teams have matched up this year, there is not much recent history to go off of.

 

The Twins and White Sox faced off at Target Field in a series that started on May 24th and the Twins were ruthlessly efficient in beating them by 7 runs in each game.

 

The White Sox took that series but I have a feeling that the series does not reflect the 2019 Twins very well.


 

 

So... the Twins beat the Sox by 7 runs in each game, but the White Sox took that series? You might want to proof that paragraph again.

 

Actually, that series in May reflected the Twins very well, when they are healthy- with their best defensive team on the field- and hitting like they are capable of doing, they are extremely efficient- especially against the average, mediocre and bad teams.

 

Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#11 Danchat

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 11:34 AM

With all of the injuries to the hitters and the tired bullpen, I'd be fine if we could play .500 ball until the All-Star Break and then get hot after that. Stay healthy boys and try to take 2 out of 3 against the Whities.

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#12 Matt Braun

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 01:01 PM

So... the Twins beat the Sox by 7 runs in each game, but the White Sox took that series? You might want to proof that paragraph again.
 
Actually, that series in May reflected the Twins very well, when they are healthy- with their best defensive team on the field- and hitting like they are capable of doing, they are extremely efficient- especially against the average, mediocre and bad teams.


Yeah so originally I had written that the last time the Twins played in Chicago was exactly a year ago in a series that ended on June 28th. Earlier this morning it was pointed out that that was false so I told Tom just to edit that part out and call it good. Some extra stuff stayed that was meant to be a reference to the June series last year and that’s why it looks weird. It’ll be edited soon.
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#13 Matt Braun

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 01:02 PM

"The Twins and White Sox faced off at Target Field in a series that started on May 24th and the Twins were ruthlessly efficient in beating them by 7 runs in each game. The White Sox took that series but I have a feeling that the series does not reflect the 2019 Twins very well."
 
Wait...huh?


Yeah that was a mistake in editing, what I originally typed made more sense (but was false), see my other comment on what happened.
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#14 SQUIRREL

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 01:07 PM

Anyone going to the games in Chicago? Sadly, I’m out of town... maybe next time.
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#15 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 02:13 PM

I'd be happy with a 5-4 record from here to the AS break. Three at Chicago, 3 at Oakland and 3 at home against Texas. Not any easy slog with a quarter of the team on IL. 


#16 curt1965

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 02:39 PM

Just saw Twins starting lineup......... better hope Berrios shuts them out and they can somehow scrape out a run or two. If this was a spring training game, the Twins would be fined for bringing so few starters!
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#17 jokin

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 04:35 PM

 

Just saw Twins starting lineup......... better hope Berrios shuts them out and they can somehow scrape out a run or two. If this was a spring training game, the Twins would be fined for bringing so few starters!

 

Wow, ain't that the truth!

 

I would like to posit that the new "10 Day IL" perhaps has made it verrrry tempting for both management and players to utilize as a short respite, rather than "playing through" the nagging injuries.

 

Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."




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