White Sox- Twins Game 1 Preview

The biggest series of the season (at least until next week) starts tonight, with the White Sox and Twins tied for first place in the AL Central. The Twins come to US Cellular Field winners in seven of their last 10 games, while the White Sox have gone 5-5 over that same stretch, including dropping three of four to the Baltimore Orioles.

July 30, 2010 - Minneapolis, MINNESOTA, USA - epa02267821 Minnesota Twins pitcher Scott Baker throws against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 30 July 2010.

Freddy Garcia gets the start for the White Sox, hoping to continue his junkball success. He’s had a decent amount of success this season, despite relying on pitches that don’t quite have the movement and speed they used to. In his first three starts against the Twins this season Garcia has a 3.15 ERA in 20 innings.

The Twins counter by sending Scott Baker, who is having a better season than his ERA indicates, considering his .329 BABIP, and a xFIP of 3.93 (against a 4.70 ERA) . Personally, when I think of Twins’ pitchers, I think of Baker. He has a very low walk rate (1.88 BB/9) with a good, not great strikeout rate (7.59 K/9), which means he needs help from his defense more often than not. Against the White Sox this season, he has one start, in which he went seven innings allowing just one run.

This looks like a fairly even matchup on paper, which means this could become a battle of the bullpens. Advantage White Sox there, even if Bobby Jenks is struggling right now. Thornton’sĀ presenceĀ against Mauer, Kubel, and Thome is the best late inning weapon either team has.

White Sox Lineup (with wOBA)

  1. Pierre, LF (.305)
  2. Vizquel, 3B (.324)
  3. Rios, CF (.357)
  4. Konerko, 1B (.404)
  5. Kotsay, DH (.299)
  6. Ramirez, SS (.323)
  7. Quentin, RF (.351)
  8. Castro, C (.416)
  9. Lillibridge, 2B (.384)

Quite a bit to talk about there, with Quentin being dropped because of a mini-slump (1 for his last 15), Castro getting the start, and of course we knew Beckham was going to miss tonight’s game because of his groin issue. Beckham said he will be back for tomorrow’s game.

Twins Lineup (with wOBA)

  1. Span, CF (.319)
  2. Hudson, 2B (.336)
  3. Mauer, C (.373)
  4. Young, LF (.373)
  5. Kubel, RF (.341)
  6. Cuddyer, 1B (.330)
  7. Thome, DH (.404)
  8. Valencia, 3B (.365)
  9. Hardy, SS (.310)

Finally, each pitcher’s numbers against the other team’s hitters.

Garcia career vs. Twins
Baker career vs. White Sox

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