Let’s Get It On: Twins and White Sox

Categories: MLB

It’s not often in life that the objects of our desires, the prizes that we covet, are within tangible grasp. But for the 2008 Minnesota Twins -- a young, enigmatic ball club on the cusp of a new home, beneath the leadership of a rookie GM, sans two departed stars, with a pitcher monikered “The Franchise” returning from Tommy John, and just three true studs to their credit -- such is their reality with just six game to play.

The Twins and the Chicago White Sox have jockeyed hard for the Central Division prize since mid-June, with no more than 3 games separating the clubs since July 26th. And while the Chi Sox hold a 8-7 edge on the season series, both teams have displayed the enervation of the contest in September, a month in which the Twins are 7-12, and Chicago is 9-10.

Both teams have faults and neither appears to sport the stuff to win the A.L. Pennant. Yet, none of that matters now, at this time, this week, for these three games. All we can hope for, I believe, is that something of a Zen mentality enfolds our boys, collectively wraps them in a three-day bubble, a baseball universe where before there was nothing, and afterward doesn’t yet exist. It’s just now. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. A sweep would put the Twins back in first, with just three to play against the Royals at home, while the Chi Sox host three against Cleveland (and a potential Sunday set against Cy favorite Cliff Lee). Chicago is also one game in arrears, via rainout, a contest versus Detroit which may need to be addressed on Monday, the 29th.

Do we deserve to be a playoff team? I don’t know. And I don’t care. I just want to get Zen on their ass and show the country that it’s not simply a fluke that we made it this far.

To accompany what hopes to be the best three days of this 162-game journey, here’s how the matchups stack up for the series of the season:

All games at 7:10 pm CST

S.%20Baker.jpgVazquez.jpg

Tuesday, Sept. 23
Javier Vazquez- RHP (12-14, 4.32 ERA; 6-5, 4.86 lifetime against Twins; 2-0, 5.11 vs. Twins in ‘08)
versus
Scott Baker- RHP (9-4, 3.69 ERA; 2-2, 7.99 lifetime against White Sox; 1-0, 5.73 vs. White Sox in ‘08)

Twins regulars vs. Vazquez
Mauer: 9-28 (.321)
Morneau: 14-39 (.359), 6 HR, 13 RBI
Cuddy: 12-35 (.343), 10 K
Punto: 5-26 (.192)
Kubel: 2-21 (.095)
Young: 5-14 (.357)
Gomez: 2-7 (.286)
Buscher: 1-6 (.167)
Casilla/Span: 1-3 each

Chicago regulars vs. Baker
Cabrera: 3-6 (.500)
Swisher: 1-5 (.200), 1 HR
Thome: 1-6 (.167), 1 HR, 3 K
Dye: 0-4
A.J.: 2-5 (.400)
Konerko: 1-3 (.333), 1 HR
Ramirez: 0-3
Uribe: 0-1
Wise: 0-1

*Noting Punto’s poor average here, I’m wondering if Adam Everett, 5-13 against Vazquez, may get this start. In addition, note that Ken Griffey Jr. is not listed here, as he’s never faced any of these Twins’ starters -- his veteran influence will likely be employed in the series.

M.%20Buehrle.jpgN.%20Blackburn.jpg

Wednesday, Sept. 24th
Mark Buehrle- LHP (14-11, 3.87 ERA; 21-12, 3.85 lifetime against Twins; 1-2, 5.79 vs. Twins in ‘08)
versus
Nick Blackburn- RHP (10-10, 4.15 ERA; 1-2 5.62 against White Sox in ‘08)

Twins regulars vs. Buehrle
Mauer: 4-18 (.222)
Morneau: 8-35 (.229), 10 RBI
Cuddy: 21-69 (.304), 7 2B, 15 K
Punto: 10-30 (.333)
Kubel: Never faced
Young: 5-15 (.333), 10 Total bases
Gomez: 5-8 (.625), 11 total bases
Harris: 3-13 (.231)
Casilla: 2-10 (.200)
Span: 1-3, HR

Chicago regulars vs. Blackburn
Cabrera: 2-12 (.167)
Swisher: 3-9 (.333), 3 BB
Thome: 3-10 (.300)
Dye: 3-11 (.273), 1 HR
A.J.: 3-8 (.375), 2 RBI
Konerko: 1-9 (.111), 3 K
Ramirez: 1-2
Uribe: 3-7 (.429)

*The Twins have lost 7 of Blackburn’s last 8 starts. Time to buck up. Furthermore, seeing as Kubel’s never faced Buehrle, Cuddy will surely start at DH in this one. Also -- while Buehrle has more wins against us than any other franchise, his 1-2 in ‘08 offers hope.

K.%20Slowey.jpgG.%20Floyd.jpg

Thursday, Sept. 25th
Gavin Floyd- RHP (16-8, 3.84 ERA; 3-3, 3.57 lifetime against Twins; 3-1, 1.86 vs. Twins in ‘08)
versus
Kevin Slowey- RHP (12-11, 3.85 ERA; 2-2 4.39 lifetime against White Sox; 1-2 5.82 vs. White Sox in ‘08)

Twins regulars vs. Floyd
Mauer: 3-16 (.188)
Morneau: 4-17 (.235), 6 RBI
Cuddy: 4-14 (.286)
Punto: 0-5, 3 BB
Kubel: 5-16 (.313), 2 HR
Young: 3-11 (.273)
Gomez: 2-12 (.167)
Buscher: 1-6 (.167)
Casilla: 1-2
Span: 2-4

Chicago regulars vs. Slowey
Cabrera: 2-7 (.286)
Swisher: 1-7 (.143), 3 RBI, 3 K
Thome: 0-5, 3 K
Dye: 3-7 (.429), 1 HR
A.J.: 3-7 (.429)
Konerko: 2-8 (.250), 2 2B
Ramirez: 3-8 (.375)
Uribe: 1-2, 1 HR
Wise: 0-1

*Slowey -- as much as I like him -- has given up 21 bombs this year. Not good against a team that can really slug like the Sox. I was thinking that the Twins might switch things up here and go with Liriano on short rest, but no dice. Lastly, Floyd’s 8.1 innings of one-hit ball back on May 6th should fuel some gusts of pride in the boys’ sails. This is the fifth crack they get at him in ‘08.


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