Minnesota Twins Look to Snap Losing Streak Versus Sox
The Minnesota Twins Look to Avoid History as their Streak Sits at 13
Every team wants to play the Minnesota Twins right now. The seven-week outburst of winning baseball has disappeared into their rear-view mirror.
Now mired in a 13-game losing skid, the Twins are floundering their way to the 2016 season finish line clearly as a defeated team.
There have been numerous comparisons between this year’s ballclub and the 1982 squad. This year’s edition of the no-win Twins will look to keep from matching the ’82 team record of a 14 game losing streak.
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As it stands, the 13-gamer is tied with the inaugural 1961 team for second place. After a horrible April/May and first half of June, the Twins had seemed to right themselves – especially after the All-Star Break.
They had their first winning record for a calendar month since May of 2015 in July, going 15-11 and winning road series in such places as Texas, Cleveland, Detroit, and even against these same White Sox.
Hoping for back-to-back winning months, the Twins once stood 6-2 to begin August, and were still at 9-6 heading to Kansas City. There was positive buzz surrounding the team, and Max Kepler was being tossed about as a candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Instead of climbing the AL Central standings, and gaining some of their lost respectability as they passed teams along the way – Minnesota now stands alone in last place in all of baseball at 49-84, a game and a half behind even the Atlanta Braves.
Thursday Night Game
Jose Quintana (11-9, 2.77 ERA) vs Ervin Santana (6-10, 3.54 ERA)
7:00 PM CDT Target Field
TV: Fox Sports North
Friday Night Game
Carlos Rodon (5-8, 3.91 ERA) vs Kyle Gibson (5-8, 5.17 ERA)
7:10 PM CDT Target Field
TV: Fox Sports Noth
Saturday Night Game
James Shields (5-16, 5.86 ERA) vs Hector Santiago (10-8, 4.93 ERA)
7:10 PM CDT Target Field
TV: Fox Sports North
Sunday Day Game
Anthony Raunaudo (1-1, 8.76 ERA) vs Andrew Albers (0-0, 6.97 ERA)
1:10 PM CDT Target Field
TV: Fox Sports North
CHICAGO: The White Sox have seen the highs and lows this year. Sharing the spotlight in early May with their Second City brethren, the Cubs, each of the Chicago teams led their respective league in the standings.
Since their high-water mark of 13 games over .500 (23-10) on May 9th, the Sox have lost 20 games in the standings to the division-leading Cleveland Indians.
Their pitching has been nearly constant all season, ranking fifth in the AL in ERA (4.05). But their Achilles heel has been their anemic hitting, and lack of clutch hitting, leading to poor run support. Only the Oakland A’s have scored fewer runs than the Sox in the AL this year.
PITCHING: The prime example of poor run support has been Jose Quintana. He currently leads all AL pitchers in ERA, yet barely has a winning record at 11-9, only because they won his last two starts. Quintana was finally the beneficiary of healthy run support last time out as the Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 9-3 last Saturday.
Chris Sale ranks fifth currently in the AL in strikeouts, and would probably be leading if he hadn’t missed two starts due to his locker room dust-up over throw-back jerseys and the team losing.
Chicago also has a deep bullpen, highlighted by the lefty/righty combo of Zach Duke and Nate Jones. Both come into ballgames in high-leverage situations, and have 20 & 26 holds, respectively.
One-time Yankee closer, David Robertson, has a chance to set a career-high for saves (39 with NY in 2014) with 33 in 39 save opportunities.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Quintana. He will be marking his fifth start tonight against the Twins, already going 2-1 versus Minnesota in 2016. His ERA is only 2.36, and he’s striking out more than a hitter per inning. Has a personal streak of eight quality starts coming into tonight’s game.
HITTING: With Jose Abreu having a slightly down year, or with teams deciding to pitch around the Cuban slugger, the White Sox have had to lean on a strike-out prone Todd Frazier. When he isn’t striking out, Frazier has been productive, hitting 33 HR (ranks 5th in AL), and driving in 83 runs (15th).
While he’s only hitting .212, it’s not much worse than the Twins’ Miguel Sano, who has slumped to .238 with 20 HR / 54 RBI / 145 K (ranking 4th in AL, despite 100 less at-bats than the three in front of him).
PLAYER TO WATCH: Tim Anderson. The White Sox looked to have found their shortstop of the future. Anderson made his major league debut in June, and has hit near .300 for most of the summer.
Since a five-strikeout performance against KC in early August that dipped his average to .261, Anderson has pulled out of his first career slump with seven multi-hit games since, raising his average 20 points.
Pretty good for a rookie who has been thrown into near the top of the order since breaking in, settling into the number two hole in the batting order for manager Robin Ventura.
MINNESOTA: The headlines for August were all about the losses and Brian Dozier. Despite the losing streak, it did not affect the Twins second baseman.
He had a monstrous August. His home run yesterday (his 32nd) gave him 24 extra base hits for the month. That was a franchise record for a team that has featured many sluggers and gap hitters.
With 24 extra base hits (in 29 games), he broke the Washington Senators’ Joe Cronin‘s record of 23. The previous Twin high was by the legendary Zoilo Versalles who hit 22 in 32 games in 1965. Dozier also led all of baseball with 13 home runs in August.
NOTES: Byron Buxton was recalled from AAA Rochester as rosters expanded. With some outfielders getting banged up, and Buxton once again starting to light it up in the minors, it was a foregone conclusion he would be the first to get the call.
So far, he’s the only minor leaguer to see a promotion in September. More should be expected as most of the Twins’ minor league teams will be ending their seasons soon. Buxton will start in center tonight, and bat ninth.
Next: Wake Me Up When September Ends
OUCH: Ricky Nolasco pitched a complete game shutout for the Los Angeles Angels in a 3-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds last night. Of course he did. Once neck-in-neck in the standings a couple weeks ago, the Angels now lead the Twins by 10 games.