After tonight's disaster, the Twins fall back to a game-and-a-half behind the ChiSox, who will keep first place when this series is concluded.
The effect of Livan Hernandez's veteran presence is being completely offset by his inability to keep his starts winnable. Slowey's six-hit shutout on Monday, immediately following his seven-ER disaster the LAST time he faced the same White Sox lineup, showed just how ready this rotation is.
We don't need this Hernandez character any more, and it's time everybody on the Twins' staff realized that.
But as it may be, the Twins are still very much in good shape—just 1.5 games behind the White Sox. And there's one key stat that might turn the tables towards the Twins.
The Twins are 7-15 against the AL East. That's not all. They're also 0-6 on the road against East foes. The White Sox are 7-12 against the East, but have already played 13 of those games on the road against other foes. They are 4-9 on the road.
But here's the kicker, and here is why the Twins have a humongous advantage late in this season: While we agree that both teams have rotten performances when facing AL East teams on the road, it's a tale of two very different schedules.
The Twins acquired this record through a series at both Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, two hallowed grounds with insurmountable home-field advantage. The White Sox? They sport their 4-9 AL East record in the digs of Tropicana Field, Camden Yards, and the Skydome.
And guess what's left for these two teams? The Twins have a three-game series in Toronto, as well as in Baltimore, and a four-game series in the Trop. And the White Sox have another series in Baltimore, but then they have a three-game series in Fenway, and a four-game series in New York in mid-September.
I don't know about you, but if I got the choice between playing the Yankees in July and playing them when they're probably making or breaking their playoff run...I'd take playing them in the Bronx in July, 100 percent.
And if we cross our fingers that the Twins turn out okay after their 15-game road trip, the second half will be a relative breeze compared to the White Sox's schedule.