Series Preview: Chicago White Sox


Current Series

4 game series vs White Sox @ Metrodome

Tue 07/29

clayton richard vs glen perkins

8:10 PM EDT
Wed 07/30

gavin floyd vs livan hernandez

8:10 PM EDT
Thu 07/31

john danks vs scott baker

8:10 PM EDT



Going In, In Brief

Losers of five in the a row, the Twins (57-47) bounced back over the weekend, taking the final two games in Cleveland to earn their first series win since taking three of four in Detroit prior to the All-Star break.  Minnesota is a team approaching a crossroads for their season, with many intriguing and telling choices to make in the coming weeks.  There's the ongoing hush-hush about third base, but there are plenty of questions inside the organization as well:  the outfield is full with Michael Cuddyer on his way back, veterans are taking up dollars and roster spots from younger players who are out-performing them, the the back end of the bullpen might be getting an overhaul very soon.

In the south side of Chicago (59-44), the White Sox have been one game better than the Twins since the break.  While Minnesota can thank timely hitting and great starting pitching for a good part of their winning streak, the Sox are in their position by overpowering the opposition on both sides of the ball.  Five hitters with double-digit home run totals, and Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye have 51 between them, while a pitching staff led by Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Gavin Floyd is one of the league's best.  Their weak spot, if they have one, is the bullpen after the loss of Scott Linebrink.  Getting to the bullpen early to avoid the three-headed monster of Jenks-Dotel-Thornton will be key.

White Sox Pitching Twins
4.2 RAPG 4.7
8.7 H/9 9.8
2.8 BB/9 2.4
0.9 HR/9 1.1
7.2 K/9 5.8
White Sox Offense Twins
5.0 RPG 4.9
.339 OBP .335
.446 SLG .408
143 HR 71
44 SB 57

 

Probable Pitchers

Mark Buehrle VS Kevin Slowey
Clayton Richard VS Glen Perkins
Gavin Floyd VS Livan Hernandez
John Danks VS Scott Baker

Opposition Focus

Mark Buehrle:  While he may have or may have not sold his soul to the devil, you can't argue with results--over his last 10 starts, Buehrle's ERA is 1.99.  It's definitely a Return of the Jedi battle on Monday night, as the Twins dominated the southpaw on May 7th but were struck down by the Dark Side of the Force on June 7th.  Round three, this time on Minnesota's home turf, will be one to watch.  If there's one stat that should make us optimistic, it's that Buehrle has been more hittable on the road (.300/.336/.436) than he has been in the comforts of the home ballpark (.233/.290/.374).

Clayton Richard:  The 24-year old left-hander had his first major league start on July 23, throwing 85 pitches in four innings versus the Texas Rangers.  He struck out seven and only walked one, but he also allowed seven hits and five runs.  It wasn't the best debut, but there was promise, and his team bailed him out of a loss.  At any rate, he's an extreme ground ball pitcher, acquiring percentages of 57, 65, 58, 52 and 61 at every stop in the minors since A-level in '06.  For his minor league career, he doesn't strike out a lot of guys, has decent control, and his 91-mph fastball can have a little sink to it.  Otherwise, he's strictly curveball/changeup.  If the Twins aren't careful, he could chew them up.

Gavin Floyd:  At just 25, Floyd is in his fifth year in the big leagues, and suffice it to say this is the knid of season everyone's been expecting him to have.  The biggest reason for his success is the drastic reduction in his home run rates.  Only 11.6% of his fly balls have been home runs this season, which isn't great, but it's much better than his 17.7% mark in '07 or his 19.7% mark in '06.  As a result he's been able to limit his damage this season, without getting more strikeouts, fewer walks or more ground balls.  One thing to keep in mind, however, is that his FIP and xFIP are well more than one full run higher than his ERA of 3.57, indicating that he's A) been lucky on balls in play and B) is likely to regress hard to the mean.  We'll see how he does on Tuesday, but it should be noted that in three starts versus the Twins this year he's done very well:  21.1 IP, 12 H, 2 HR, 6 R, 7 BB, 14 K.

John Danks:  Just 23 in April, Danks is enjoying a very successful sophomore campaign with the South Siders.  It's easy to see why:  better strikeout rates, better walk rates, home run rates cut in half, more gound balls, static line drive ratios and he's leaving more men on base.  Deciphering that formula is easy:  Danks is much better than he was in 2007.  He throws a good cut fastball now, in addition to the fastball/curveball/changeup/slider repetoire.  Also, he's been better on the road, and he handles right-handed hitters extremely well.  If there's one chink in his armor right now, it's that he's come undone a bit in his last three starts, totaling 17.2 innings with 15 runs and 24 hits.  He's still getting strikeouts and limiting walks, however, so it might be that he's just leaving the ball over the plate a bit too often.  That, or he's been unlucky.  Let's hope for the former.

Josh Fields:  With Joe Crede on the disabled list, Fields is back in black.  Last season, at 24, he filled in with good power in Crede's absence at the hot corner, but struggling with contact and plate discipline was sent back to triple-A when the Sox couldn't (or didn't want to) trade Crede.  In triple-A Charlotte, Fields hasn't faired awfully well this summer, but not horrible either:  .248/.325/.450 in 222 at-bats, with 12 doubles, nine homers, 25 walks and 77 strikeouts.  He has his weaknesses, so as long as Twins pitchers stay out of his wheelhouse they should be able to keep him under wraps.

Paul Konerko:  An old nemesis, the 32-year old first baseman has struggled mightily since returning from the disabled list in early July, hitting just .218/.283/.309.  He's having an off-season from start to finish, but he's liable to go off at any time.  Konerko is a hitter that shouldn't be ignored.

Carlos Quentin:  He turns 26 in August, and the guy just oozes talent.  There's a lot of power in his swing (.271 isolated power), and even though he has good plate discipline, if you can mix him up you can get him to expand and go outside of his comfort zone.  Mixing in regular breaking balls (that don't hang, by the way) will be a good idea, and could help keep a fly-ball hitter from hitting one over the fence.

Jim Thome:  He's 37, but he can still slug it with the best of them.  He's hitting .389/.522/.685 since July 8th.

Alexei Ramirez:  He's been Chicago's version of Alexi Casilla, just a bit older with more power and less plate discipline.  We've seen him a couple of times this season already, only once since he became a regular, and he's given the White Sox offense another weapon.  A .355/.381/.527 June and a .347/.363/.533 July have ensured he'll be a fixture for the foreseeable future.  Fortunately, he swings at an absurd number of baseballs, including a disturbing 43.9% of balls outside the strike zone.  Take that, Carlos Gomez!

Stats


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Jermaine Dye 97 372 64 117 24 2 24 64 31 72 3 2 .315 .372 .583
Alexei Ramirez 78 262 35 81 15 1 8 35 9 35 7 4 .309 .331 .466
Dewayne Wise 24 49 8 15 2 1 2 5 2 13 5 0 .306 .327 .510
AJ Pierzynski 86 344 44 99 22 1 8 39 15 49 1 0 .288 .324 .427
Carlos Quentin 100 369 74 103 17 1 27 78 49 62 5 3 .279 .382 .550
Toby Hall 26 79 4 22 3 0 1 4 6 11 0 0 .278 .337 .354
Orlando Cabrera 103 420 61 111 19 0 6 44 39 47 16 2 .264 .323 .352
Jim Thome 96 316 55 81 22 0 19 59 62 91 1 0 .256 .383 .506
Joe Crede 90 310 39 79 17 0 17 54 29 43 0 3 .255 .323 .474
Juan Uribe 58 156 21 36 12 1 3 18 12 29 1 0 .231 .290 .378
Brian Anderson 66 135 14 31 9 0 5 17 6 35 2 1 .230 .262 .407
Nick Swisher 102 346 61 79 15 1 14 49 64 89 2 2 .228 .349 .399
Paul Konerko 76 283 33 61 11 1 9 35 37 57 1 0 .216 .315 .357
Josh Fields 2 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 .143 .250 .143

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Bobby Jenks 2-0 36 0 0 0 21 2 36.1 29 7 7 1 9 21 1.73 1.05
Mike MacDougal 0-0 8 0 0 0 0 0 8.2 8 2 2 0 7 7 2.08 1.73
Scott Linebrink 2-2 42 0 0 0 1 3 39.0 30 11 10 5 6 33 2.31 .92
DJ Carrasco 1-0 5 0 0 0 0 0 11.2 8 3 3 0 4 11 2.31 1.03
Matt Thornton 4-2 45 0 0 0 1 3 40.2 28 11 11 3 12 49 2.43 .98
Octavio Dotel 4-4 49 0 0 0 1 2 46.1 34 21 15 4 22 68 2.91 1.21
Esteban Loaiza 0-0 3 0 0 0 0 0 3.0 3 2 1 1 0 1 3.00 1.00
John Danks 8-4 21 21 0 0 0 0 124.2 118 46 44 10 33 102 3.18 1.21
Mark Buehrle 8-8 21 21 1 0 0 0 139.0 142 65 55 12 34 81 3.56 1.27
Gavin Floyd 10-6 20 20 1 0 0 0 123.2 100 66 49 18 53 85 3.57 1.24
Boone Logan 2-2 44 0 0 0 0 1 36.1 40 19 17 4 8 37 4.21 1.32
Nick Masset 1-0 31 1 0 0 1 0 43.2 53 24 21 4 21 31 4.33 1.69
Jose Contreras 7-6 19 19 1 0 0 0 119.1 127 64 61 12 35 68 4.60 1.36
Javier Vazquez 7-9 21 21 1 0 0 0 135.0 146 73 71 19 38 130 4.73 1.36
Adam Russell 3-0 9 0 0 0 0 0 9.2 13 6 6 0 4 9 5.59 1.76
Clayton Richard 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 4.0 7 5 4 1 1 7 9.00 2.00
Ehren Wassermann 0-1 11 0 0 0 0 0 6.2 14 12 11 0 4 5 14.85 2.70


 

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