Almost outta this place…
The Twins are further back now (17.0 GB) than they’ve been all year, and haven’t put together a winning month yet in 2021. It’s possible they could accomplish this in July — they sit at 7-9 with under two weeks to go — but four of those nine losses have come since the break in Denver. Why am I telling you all this? I don’t know. Them’s the facts right now.
Want some more facts? Here’s a happier one: the Twins will be done with visits to Chicago after tomorrow — Game 3 of this weekday series is our penultimate trip to the ‘Misk, the ‘Cell, the Big G. I remember being disappointed when the 2021 schedule came out; why were we done with White Sox matchups so early into the season? The schedulemakers are depriving us of some thrilling late-September ballgames!
Well, I guess the schedulemakers know more than we do. They’ve saved us all the embarrassment of an end-season beatdown against our most hated rival, and left us with the consolation of a doubleheader split in the middle of July. Fair trade, I guess? Still, Minnesota’s got a chance to win this series, and it all depends on a win this evening.
Bailey Ober gets the ball tonight in his ninth major-league start. He’s officially a member of the rotation now; a spot start in mid-May was followed by a multi-week absence; since June 6th, he’s taken consistent turns on the mound. He’s coming off a shorter start vs. the Tigers, but had turned in a good outing the last time he squared up with the South Siders (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K – and 93 pitches, which is notable for the rookie righty.)
His opponent tonight is Dallas Keuchel. As a member of the White Sox, Keuchel has enjoyed facing the Twins — or at least, his team has. Keuchel’s made two starts against Minnesota this year (back-to-back outings on May 12 + 17), and the Sox won those contests by finals of 13-8 and 16-4. Five of Keuchel’s 18 starts have seen the Sox throw up at least nine runs.
The 2015 Cy Young winner is probably the weakest member of a significantly talented Chicago starting staff; his 4.25 ERA is the highest on the squad, and while he’s always been a groundball pitcher, his career-low K/9 (5.4; min. 100 IP) has resulted in hits-a-plenty — he ranks near the bottom of all qualified pitchers in K% and xBA against.
Notably, Josh Donaldson ranks near the top of all qualified batters in xBOO against.
|Luis Arraez – LF||Tim Anderson – SS|
|Mitch Garver – C||Gavin Sheets – RF|
|Nelson Cruz – DH||Jose Abreu – 1B|
|Josh Donaldson – 3B||Brian Goodwin – LF|
|Jorge Polanco – 2B||Yoan Moncada – 3B|
|Max Kepler – RF||Leury Garcia – 2B|
|Miguel Sano – 1B||Adam Engel – CF|
|Gilberto Celestino – CF||Zack Collins – DH|
|Andrelton Simmons – SS||Seby Zavala – C|
|Bailey Ober – RHP||Dallas Keuchel – LHP|