The Minnesota Twins entered this series 2 and a half games back of the Chicago White Sox in what looks to be an early playoff series for Major League Baseball. Both teams stumbled into this series in big slumps with Chicago unable to gain ground in the playoff race and the Twins failing to catch up. After Wednesday’s night win, the Twins pulled within half a game of the Sox, and finish the series tomorrow.
The pesky Twins have been in Chicago’s rear view mirror for the last few months, but never have been able to pass them up for the lead. On Wednesday, the Sox turned to their veteran starting pitcher Mark Buehrle to try to help gain back some ground. The veteran has not had the best luck against the Twins this year, but he kept them in check for much of the game and went 7 innings and only allowed 3 runs. One cannot complain with an outing like that, especially with one of the highest power offenses in the game. However, Twin’s starter Nick Blackburn gave up 2 runs over 5 innings before handing it over to the bullpen. That left the ballgame in the hands of the sub par bullpen. A questionable call handing Boof Bonser the ball in the seventh inning worked out and the bullpen pitched four innings and only allowed one hit, and one walk. Joe Nathan picked up his 39th save with a solid 9th inning.
On to the outlook, it is hard to imagine the Twins being able to sweep a baseball team of Chicago’s caliber. It looks good for the Twins, who have a chance to pull ahead of the Sox and finish the regular season against the Kansas City Royals. I do not exactly see that happening though, even though the Twins are playing in the Metrodome, the White Sox bats appeared to be more lively in this outing, and I feel it will carry over to tomorrow’s game. The Twins will send Kevin Slowey to the mound tomorrow who happened to pitch a complete game shutout against Chicago in his last outing against them. Opposing him will be the White Sox 16 game winner Gavin Floyd, who has had his own success against the Twins this season.
On the road ahead of this series, both teams run into the Royals and Indians, who are the hottest two teams in the AL Central right now. I believe whoever wins tomorrow’s game will be playing in October. The Twins need their All Stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to step up tomorrow and take the game away from the Sox. They are two of the most experienced players on an extremely young squad, and need to show that they can take over a game in clutch situations.
Another factor that may come into play is that the Sox must face this year’s projected Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, who is looking to finish the season with a strong start, in series finale against Cleveland. The Twins are either hit or miss against Kansas City, which is not good, because even if they win tomorrow, they need to take at least 2 out of 3 against the Royals, because you can never rule out a sweep with the power of Chicago. Let’s just hope the Twins keep stepping up in crunch time and prove to everyone that talent can overpower experience.