By the numbers, here are some key match-ups which will give us a cursory idea of strengths, weaknesses and marginal advantages.
Some of these numbers are still inflated by Livan Hernandez, but there's no denying Chicago has seen some good years coming from their rotation. They do a decent job of keeping hitters off-balance by having finesse pitchers mixed with guys who can rack up some strikeouts. The Twins have strong performers at the front of their rotation in Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker, but the Sox have a bit more experience and are still having the better season overall. Also, the Sox won't have to face Liriano this series. Advantage: White Sox
Matt Thornton, Octavio Dotel, Bobby Jenks; three solid and reliable relief pitchers that on any given night can be counted on to shut down an offense. It's hard to come up with a list of three names on the Twins side that can do the same thing, in spite of the fact that according to the little chart both bullpens come out pretty even. There's Joe Nathan, of course. Then Jesse Crain, who hasn't been used in almost a week but has generally been effective. Oh, and Craig Breslow, he can be counted too. Sadly, given the option, if asked which three I'd prefer to entrust a three-run lead to it'd be Thornton-Dotel-Jenks. I feel like a traitor. Advantage: White Sox
Other Match-Ups of Note
Chicago Hitters VS RHP: .267/.333/.446 With all three Twins hurlers being righties, I thought this significant. It's not horribly encouraging, but in addition to familiarity breeding contempt, hate, jealousy and sometimes boredom, it also breeds the ability to pick apart flaws. Hopefully Baker, Blackburn and Slowey can do just that.
Twins Best VS LHP This is always important. This season, it's Joe Mauer (.959 OPS), Matt Macri (.917), Denard Span (.897), Justin Morneau (.793), Adam Everett (.773) and Delmon Young (.771).
Twins Hitters VS Chicago: .273/.333/.417 That's not too bad, especially considering who's likely to see a lot of playing time in the series. All of the following have an OPS of .828 or higher against the Sox this season: Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, Nick Punto, Carlos Gomez and Mike Redmond.
White Sox On Turf: .227/.285/.361 I like this one. We'll end on a high note.
|2008 - Scott Baker||9-4||26||26||0||0||0||0||158.1||152||65||65||20||40||128||3.69||1.21|
|2008 - Javier Vazquez||12-14||31||31||1||0||0||0||200.0||202||101||96||23||58||192||4.32||1.30|
09/23/08 8:10 PM EDT
|Chicago White Sox||Minnesota Twins|
|Orlando Cabrera - SS||Denard Span - RF|
|AJ Pierzynski - C||Alexi Casilla - 2B|
|Jermaine Dye - RF||Joe Mauer - C|
|Jim Thome - DH||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Paul Konerko - 1B||Jason Kubel - DH|
|Ken Griffey Jr. - CF||Delmon Young - LF|
|Alexei Ramirez - 2B||Brian Buscher - 3B|
|Dewayne Wise - LF||Nick Punto - SS|
|Juan Uribe - 3B||Carlos Gomez - CF|