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Know Your Enemy Lite: Minnesota Twins

“We just played them” edition

MLB: JUL 07 White Sox at Twins

This time around, the guess is Twins fans are a little less frisky about still having a chance to salvage their season. But, those clowns always surprise, so ...

Last time

Two series ago, the White Sox were up in Minnesota. There was a brief moment of hope for the Twins where the won the first game of that series, but it was quickly dashed when the White Sox took the rest of the series. Josh Donaldson was “hurt” (do feelings count toward the IL?) so he didn’t make an appearance.

So far in 2021, the White Sox are 10-2 in games against the Twins. There’s still one more series at Minnesota, but those don’t come until August. The Twins maybe be relegated to Triple-A by then.

How’s it going?

White Sox are 33-15 at home, and the Twins are 17-28 on the road. Nelson Cruz is the one highlight for Twins fans, leading the team with a .543 slugging and 85 hits. The Twins are 39-53 and fourth in the AL Central, at 17 games back. Basically, their season is over and they’re just limping towards September.

The Twins swept the Tigers in Minnesota in the July 8-11 series and then were swept by the Tigers in Detroit in their last series, so they’re coming to Chicago on the heels of three straight losses.

The Twins are just as injury-plagued as the rest of baseball. Cody Stashak, Devil Smeltzer, Derek Law, Luke Farrell, and Randy Dobnak are still out with injuries. Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, and Kyle Garlick, too. Breakout star Buxton being injured over and over again has proven to be a big missing link for the Twins.

Pitching matchups

Today’s Game 1 is going to be Lance Lynn facing off against Griffin Jax. Jax made his MLB debut on June 8. He’s 1-1 this season, lasting 17 23 innings and allowing 22 hits and striking out 14. He’s posting a whopping 8.66 ERA and has made only one start this season on July 3 against the Royals (which was his loss). Jax relies on four pitches: a 4-seam fastball (51.5%), slider (24.8%), changeup (15.8%), and curveball (7.9%). Meanwhile, recently extended Lance Lynn is 9-3 this season with a 90 23 innings pitched while striking out 105 and posting a 1.99 ERA. In his last four starts against the Twins he’s 2-0 in 22 innings, striking out 20 and posting a 2.45 ERA.

Game 2 is José Berríos vs TBD. This season Berríos is 7-3 with 108 23 innings pitched while striking out 114 and giving up 88 hits, posting a 3.48 ERA. In his last five starts against the White Sox Berríos has gone 1-1 over 27 innings while giving up 27 hits and striking out 21 with a 3.67 ERA. In his last seven starts (among the White Sox, Tigers, Cleveland, Astros, and Rangers) he’s 2-1 over 44 13 innings, allowing 35 hits and striking out 45. Berríos has four pitches in his arsenal: curveball (30.8%), sinker (29.6%), 4-seam fastball (26.7%), and changeup (13%).

Tuesday will see Bailey Ober vs. Dallas Keuchel. Ober is 1-1 this season over 33 innings, with a 5.45 ERA. He’s struck out 37 and given up 34 hits. He’s 1-1 in his last seven, going 29 innings and allowing 29 hits, posting a 4.97 ERA. Ober has seen the White Sox three times (all in 2021). He’s gone 1-1 over 12 13 innings, striking out 14 and allowing 11 hits and nine earned runs. Ober has four pitches in his arsenal: 4-seam fastball (60.3%), changeup (14%), slider (13.9%), curveball (11.9%). Keuchel has been having a shaky 2021, posting a 7-3 record over 97 13 innings while striking out 58 and walking 31. His ERA is 4.25 this season, and 4.30 in his last seven starts. He’s posting a 4-0 record against the Twins in his last five against them, with a 3.41 ERA and 29 innings while striking out 18 and allowing 30 hits.

Wednesday is Michael Pineda vs. Dylan Cease. Pineda is 3-5 this season over 61 13 innings with a 4.11 ERA, while striking out 55 and allowing 61 hits. In his last seven games he’s 1-4 over 34 innings, while striking out 28 and allowing 42 hits. Against the White Sox, Pineda is 2-2 over 28 23 and posting a 4.71 ERA. Pineda relies on three pitches: 4-seam fastball (53.7%), slider (31%), and changeup (15.2%). Cease is 7-5 this season and 1-2 against the Twins. He’s posting a 7.83 ERA against the Twins over 23 innings, allowing 29 hits and striking out 29.