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Gamethread: Twins at White Sox

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It’s the final game of the first half of the season!

Smallest continent: Today’s surprise Twins starter, Lewis Thorpe hails from the land where they pitch down under ... by way of Rochester.
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Dang. I was all set to begin with how the Sox are actually slight favorites today because Lucas Giolito is starting, but when Robby*the*Recapper says you’re going to do show tunes for today’s game, as he did in last night’s recap, you better do it. Robby was an OK guy for a piece of artificial intelligence when Vox brought him in as an intern in April, but now that they figured out how much more money they could save by making him editor-in-chief, he’s turned mean — keeps reminding us that he can replace us all just by saying, “Alexa, give me a gamethread” or “Siri, write me a recap.”

Problem is, the real story in today’s game, other than the Sox trying to recover from once again being shellacked by the Twins, is that Minnesota is starting a 23-year-old lefty named Lewis Thorpe, who’s making his major league debut despite a 5.71 ERA at Rochester, and his parents flew to Chicago for the big occasion. That’s not normally a surprise, except that Thorpe is Australian. And you thought getting to GRF on the Ryan is tough.

Thorpe’s not the first Australian twirler to be brought to the bigs by the Twins at the age of 23. The first was Grant Balfour in 2001, who, despite a really strange name for a pitcher (“Balfour, take yer base”), had a very successful 15-year major league career. But Thorpe’s still a rarity.

Since Chicago is a city that welcomes immigrants, even those coming from Rochester, I tried to think of an Australian-related musical from which to grab some lyrics, but the only ones that came to mind were “The Boy from Oz” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” both extremely appropriate for Pride Parade day, but neither very baseballsy.

So, instead, we’ll take a verse from a famous Australian baseball song:

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And 
he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
you’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Now, that’s a baseball song! Or maybe it’s about nuclear physics. Hard to tell.

But enough about Aussies. After five bombs gave the Twinkies their fourth seven-run win over the Sox in five games this season, the right man is on the mound to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Giolito hasn’t faced Minnesota this year. He’s 2-3 against them lifetime, but that was way back when he was just another big guy with a ball in his hand, not the Zen master ace he is now.

Facing a southpaw takes Charlie Tilson out of the lineup and makes José Rondón the DH. Rondon’s hitting a hefty .190, but at least he’s in three figures, waaaaay better than the alternatives of Daniel Palka or Zack Collins, who only make it .089 if you add their averages together.

The Twins counter with a whole bunch of guys who have been hitting the ball a very long way.

Luis Arraez (L) LF
Jorge Polanco (S) SS
Nelson Cruz (R) DH
Mitch Garver (R) C
Marwin Gonzalez (S) 3B
C.J. Cron (R) 1B
Ehire Adrianza (S) RF
Jonathan Schoop (R) 2B
Byron Buxton (R) CF

This should be a much better day for the Sox. If not, at least we’ll find out if, as the case with swirling toilet water, Australian sliders spin the other way.

If that’s not enough excitement for you, the Sox just announced that they’re bringing up Dylan Cease to start Wednesday afternoon’s doubleheader opener against the Tigers. Can’t get more White Soxy than that — leave the guy in the minors until he has a whole month where he’s been awful - 13 earned in 12 13 innings — and then promote him.

Great weather for today’s 1:10 p.m. Central start, chance of thunderstorms around 4 p.m. WGN has all the broadcast turf covered.

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