White Sox Series Preview

Thanks to StatCorner and Fangraphs for the stats, and thanks to Lookout Landing for letting me steal their format for the table above. Though I didn’t really get their consent. Whatever.

After winning their opening series in Anaheim 3 games to 1, it was a very good start for the Twins. The team is on pace to break the team record for homers hit in a season (ok so it was just 4 games, just let me have this one thing damnit).

Francisco Liriano makes his return to the Twins rotation tonight, and it will be time to see if his stuff is back to at least somewhat close to his 2006 levels. Reports out of winterball had him throwing his fastball in the mid 90s with a high 80s slider, which would obviously be an improvement over last year. Liriano actually wasn’t terrible last year, but he had a tough time against righties, which would obviously be helped by a hellacious slider.

John Danks pitches for the Sox tonight, and I think he is actually the best pitcher in that rotation. He had a big comedown from a stellar 2008 season last year, as he posted just a 4.59 FIP, but he did throw over 200 innings and is probably the most durable pitcher on staff. Danks only throws his fastball about half the time, and thank god because it’s not a very good pitch. He does however have an excellent cutter which he throws roughly 22% of the time.

Freddy Garcia faces Scott Baker on Saturday. The first start didn’t go terribly well for Baker, and while I wouldn’t put too much stock into that, I wouldn’t expect him to have a great day tomorrow either because of having to pitch in the Cell, which of course is a notorious hitter’s park. Garcia meanwhile didn’t have great on the surface numbers last year, but then again his FIP was only 3.35. Of course, a lot of that was built on the fact that he had only a 5.4% HR/FB, which in this park doesn’t figure to hold. I expect some regression from him.

Then on Sunday it is Nick Blackburn and Mark Buehrle. I’m not even going to attempt analysis on this because Nick Blackburn seems to defy sabermetrics at every turn, and Buehrle has been Twins kryptonite in the past.

Bottom line is I expect to see a lot of offense this weekend, so get your gloves ready.

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