Daily Notes for Tuesday: Twins versus Sox for all the marbles
It's a 163-game season for the White Sox and Twins, as the division rivals duke it out Tuesday for the American League Central title. Chicago rode Gavin Floyd's arm and Alexei Ramirez's bat to an 8-2 victory over Freddy Garcia and the Tigers on Monday, forcing the tiebreaking one-game playoff with Minnesota. The Twins will send rookie right-hander Nick Blackburn to the mound at U.S. Cellular Field to face left-hander John Danks.
|7:30 p.m.||Nick Blackburn||R||11-10||4.14||1.37|| |
Time is ET.
Hitters: Only owners clinging to a very narrow lead in the batting average category stand to lose anything offensively in this matchup, so all Sox and Twins hitters are fair game. The White Sox have hit .319 off Blackburn this season, but Paul Konerko hasn't contributed. He's just 1-for-12 versus the Minnesota right-hander. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is 5-for-10, but no Sox hitter has seen the Twins' rookie enough to have compiled a really significant sample. Toby Hall has caught John Danks more often than Pierzinski this month, although the latter was behind the plate in Danks' last outing. Danks, in his second full season, has a bit more history with the Twins than Blackburn does against the Sox. The two Minnesota hitters who have fared the best against Danks are already no-brainer starts. In their brief history against the Sox lefty, Justin Morneau is 7-for-16 with three home runs, and Joe Mauer is 8-for-12. Nick Punto, however, has just one hit in 11 tries against Danks.
Hitters: Another Twins hitter who has gotten the best of Danks is the recently activated Michael Cuddyer. The outfielder's healing broken foot is still hindering his running, so he has made just two starts at designated hitter since being activated Sept. 13, seeing action mostly as a pinch hitter. Cuddyer is 7-for-12 with two doubles off Danks. Chicago outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher is hitting just .154 in September and has been losing playing time since the return of Paul Konerko. Brian Anderson hasn't been much better at .222. Dewayne Wise started Monday's game in left field, with Ken Griffey Jr. in center. Wise, who is left-handed, has good speed and should be a target for those hoping to find a steal or two. He swiped his ninth base Monday, in just 125 at-bats. Wise didn't get a hit Monday, but two walks, the steal and a run scored might well earn him another start. Juan Uribe has been manning third base since Joe Crede's injury. He's hitting .295, with a .329 OBP and .449 slugging percentage this month and will be one of the few starters in this contest not already owned in most formats.
Pitchers: The Twins-Sox matchup is teeming with quality relievers apart from closers Bobby Jenks and Joe Nathan. Any one of several pitchers could deliver a win, a handful of strikeouts or even an extra-inning save. The best bets on the Chicago side are Octavio Dotel and Matt Thornton, both of whom have excellent skills and are in fine current form. The usually reliable Scott Linebrink has struggled of late, allowing nine earned runs in his past five outings. Minnesota's Matt Guerrier also has struggled recently, posting a double-digit ERA and a 2.00-plus WHIP in both August and September. Jesse Crain and Dennys Reyes are better bets.
It will be cloudy in Chicago on Tuesday, with temperatures in the mid-50s. Rain is not expected, although there is a slight possibility of a shower late in the evening.
Will Harris is a fantasy baseball and college football analyst for ESPN.com
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