White Sox-Twins Game 3: Battle of the Aces

After splitting the first two games of the series, and remaining tied for first place, tonight’s get away game will give either the White Sox or Twins the division lead. The two teams will send their best pitchers to the mound, with the Gavin Floyd getting the start for the white Sox, and the Twins starting Francisco Liriano.

August 07, 2010: Gavin Floyd  for the Chicago White Sox pitches during a game against the hometown Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. The White Sox beat the Orioles 4 - 2.

Floyd has been the best pitcher in baseball since the All-Star break, with a 1.09 ERA in five starts. Floyd has really rebounded well from a bad luck fueled rough start, shaving more than three runs off his ERA since June. He’s done it with a combination of limiting the home run, BABIP correction, and a steady rise in his ability to strand runners on base.

After giving up six homers in the first two months of the season, Floyd has allowed just two more, and did not allow a single home run in July. Floyd’s BABIP in April was .369, and in May it was .343. In the three months since, his BABIP has been .281, .286, .234. Looking at his numbers after the first two months, it was clear he was getting terribly unlucky, and a little BABIP correction would go a long way. Obviously that has happened, putting his ERA (3.49) in line with both his FIP (3.14) and xFIP (3.68). With 3.9 WAR, he ranks just behind John Danks (4.2 WAR) on the White Sox staff.

In Liriano, the White Sox are facing one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s been dominant all season, despite a W-L record that is less than stellar. Liriano has been one of the five best pitchers in baseball this season, posting a 5.5 WAR to this point. His 2.14 FIP and 2.90 xFIP show that this is no fluke. He’s actually gotten killed with BABIP this season (.349), but he’s been so great that it doesn’t matter. His command has kept the walks down (2.82 BB/9), and the strikeouts up (9.98 K/9). To make matters worse for a team like the White Sox, who rely on the home run, Liriano has allowed just two homers all season.

Winning this game would be big for either team, but since the two teams meet again next week, this one doesn’t have the same “win or else” feel that these matchups tend to have. For the White Sox, beating a pitcher like Liriano would be a huge confidence booster, since any playoff games would involve pitchers of his caliber. For the Twins, winning two of three at US Cellular would send the message that they are the favorites in the division. Either way, expect massive fan overreaction after the game.

White Sox Lineup (with wOBA)

  1. Pierre, LF (.305)
  2. Ramirez, SS (.325)
  3. Rios, CF (.356)
  4. Konerko, 1B (.402)
  5. Quentin, RF (.360)
  6. AJ, C (.265)
  7. Viciedo, DH (.329)
  8. Vizquel, 3B (.320)
  9. Beckham, 2B (.296)

Twins Lineup (with wOBA)

  1. Span, CF (.317)
  2. Hudson, 2B (.337)
  3. Mauer, C (.380)
  4. Kubel, RF (.345)
  5. Cuddyer, 1B (.336)
  6. Thome, DH (.412)
  7. Young, LF (.369)
  8. Valencia, 3B (.349)
  9. Casilla, SS (.345)

Floyd career vs. Twins
Liriano career vs. White Sox

One thought on “White Sox-Twins Game 3: Battle of the Aces

  • August 12, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    I’m looking forward to this game just as a baseball fan.

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