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New York Mets v Minnesota Twins

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Since We Last Met: Minnesota Twins

Winning by default, the American League Central Way

Dallas Keuchel is pitching for a division-winning team. In 2023.
| David Berding/Getty Images

At long last, the September slate of five straight series against the AL Central comes to a close, with the South Siders “welcoming” the Minnesota Twins to Sox Park for a four-game set over the weekend. While the days of the small-ball Metrodome piranha Twins is long past, and the flash-in-the-pan, 101-win 2019 Twins quickly fade in the rearview mirror, the 2023 version is no less annoying than those Twins squads of yore.

These Twins, who embrace smug, unrepentant cheaters like Carlos Correa as one of their own, come to Chicago with a lead of seven games over the Guardians and 8 1⁄2 ahead of the Tigers; both teams looked to challenge the Twins for an AL Central crown that undoubtedly will be won by default. Both teams ultimately proved to be as feckless, feeble, and feculent as the rest of the division, fading away down the stretch and leaving Minnesota all alone atop the Central standings. Which, as we all know, is the equivalent of being kings of of a heaping pile of bovine excrement. So, you know, hooray?

The Twins record against the abysmal AL Central is a meager 26-22, easily the worst record of a likely division winner within their own division. As you might then imagine, Minnesota’s overall record would not qualify for postseason play if they were in any other division in baseball. They truly are the worst “best” team in any division. But someone has to win this sorry-ass division, and with three weeks left in the season, neither Cleveland or Detroit look to be able to muster anything resembling a challenge to Minny’s division-title-by-default that seems inevitable at this point.

Oh, wretched AL Central, whatever will we do with thee ...

What Have the Twins Been Up To?

The Twins come to Chicago sitting atop the AL Central at a very mediocre 76-70. Since last facing the White Sox in late July (a three-game sweep for Minnesota), the Twins are 23-22. They are the very definition of middling. Minnesota’s team OPS+ of 103 is slightly above average, as are their team OBP of .322 and team SLG of .424. It is probably safe to say that Sox fans would happily trade places with the Twins, but we all know we should be aspiring to be more like truly good teams, not just the best of baseball’s worst division.

With little to nothing to play for other than meekly trying to avoid a 100-loss season during a self-proclaimed contention window, can these White Sox even the score and win the season series against those monozygotes from the north? Not bloody likely, as that would require a sweep by the home team. Let’s not kid ourselves though, the best we can probably hope for is avoiding an embarrassing sweep by winning one of four. The Twins are the likely Central champs, but it would at least be nice if the Pale Hose could muster a modicum of resistance and play spoiler for the weekend to delay the inevitable. Do it for the Twins. Pretty please, White Sox?

What Are the Pitching Matchups? How Do We Match Up?

Surprisingly, the Twins pitching is what has kept them afloat and atop this bad division. They sport a team ERA+ of 112, which is tied for fourth-best in baseball. Their WHIP of 1.205 is also fourth, but their FIP is only middle of the pack. They have committed the sixth-fewest errors in baseball to this point, so they have that going for them as well. The same definitely can not be said for the home team.

Thursday, September 14

Kenta Maeda vs José Ureña

Friday, September 15

TBD vs Jesse Scholtens

Whoever the mystery man is, they will probably dominate this pusillanimous White Sox lineup either way.

Saturday, September 16

Pablo López vs TBD

Whichever mystery man takes the hill for the Pale Hose will undoubtedly give up too many hits, free passes, and runs — earned or otherwise.

Sunday, September 17

Sonny Gray vs Dylan Cease

The matchup of aces? Only on Minnesota’s side, sadly.

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