Greetings from Target Field, where it’s overcast and very warm as the Minnesota Twins prepare for game two of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox. It’ll be righty Jose Berrios (4.04 ERA, 3.99 FIP in 111.1 innings) on the mound for the Twins, while the White Sox will counter with lefty Derek Holland (6.05 ERA, 6.40 FIP in 129.1 innings).
More on that in a bit.
Tuesday night’s win guaranteed the Twins victory in the season series, as they moved to 10-7 with just two games remaining between them and the White Sox. The Twins have more wins against the White Sox than any other team this season — that isn’t terribly shocking given the schedule’s tilt to divisional play — but they’ve also beaten the Royals eight times (8-4) and they have six wins against the Indians (6-10).
The Twins also have a chance to double their win total from July. They went 10-15 in July, and with a sweep of the White Sox would finish with a 20-10 mark in August. The Twins haven’t had a 20-win month since May 2015 (20-7), and only won 17 games combined between August and September last season.
Here’s how the Twins will line up against Holland:
— Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) August 30, 2017
Here’s how the White Sox will counter:
P Holland#WhiteSox at MIN RHP Berrios
— White Sox Lineup (@CHWLineup) August 30, 2017
Berrios has been a bit up-and-down in recent starts, but it’s worth noting that his season ERA of 4.04 is still nearly half what it was last season (8.02) — and thus still represents a huge step forward. With that said, this is just the second time all season he’s gone into a start with an ERA above 4.00. He’ll look for a strong finish to August, a month in which he’s posted a 4.88 ERA with a still solid 26-9 K/BB ratio in 27.2 innings.
Berrios is holding opposing batters to just a .200/.277/.390 line in August, but something to monitor is his swinging-strike rate. This month, it’s at just 8 percent, and his most recent start — also against the White Sox — snapped an eight-start stretch where he got fewer than 10 swinging strikes in each outing — a 7 percent swinging-strike rate in that time frame. The league average is about 10 percent, and over that stretch Berrios posted a 4.87 ERA with a line against of .258/.326/.406. Here’s to hoping he finds a second wind, but it’s certainly possible the rigors of his first full MLB season are starting to wear on him — if just a little bit. Ervin Santana found his second win; now it’s Berrios’ turn.
We got the lowdown on Holland, who is having a rough season, from Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Take a listen:
Hector Santiago (back) went 2.2 innings in a rehab start with Rochester on Tuesday night — his first game action in 20 days — and allowed one earned run on one hit (a triple) with a strikeout and a pair of walks. Molitor said that Santiago was rusty, and that his velocity was down. Santiago will make another start on Sunday for the Red Wings before the next step is determined.
Adalberto Mejia (bicep) will make his first rehab start with the Red Wings on the road against Scranton-Wilkes Barre on Wednesday.
Jason Castro (head) went through a non-baseball workout on Tuesday, Molitor said. He came out of the workout not feeling the greatest — Molitor termed it as the slightest of setbacks — but ultimately Castro was glad he did it. It sounds like he’ll go through that workout again Wednesday, with the next step be getting a bat in his hand and working on some baseball specific-rotation movements.
Miguel Sano (shin) is in a walking boot and will take the next few days off as he still is battling pain in that foot. It doesn’t sound like he’s particularly close to returning.
Molitor said the team has had extensive discussions about the call-ups, and that it’ll be “probably three players in the short-term” but that not all of the players will be from the current 40-man roster. Reading between the lines, it would not be surprising to see the Twins add catcher Anthony Recker as protection behind Mitch Garver and Chris Gimenez, though adding someone like Gabriel Moya or maybe eventually Stephen Gonsalves could be on the radar as well.
As far as the good best, it’ll probably be lefties Buddy Boshers and maybe Nik Turley coming up to help the Twins right away. Daniel Palka could be a candidate as well.
Molitor also announced the following weekend rotation for the upcoming series against the Kansas City Royals:
- Friday – Dillon Gee
- Saturday – Kyle Gibson
- Sunday – Ervin Santana
- Mitch Garver and Zack Granite were named postseason International League All-Stars on Wednesday, the Rochester Red Wings announced. If neither player goes back to the minor leagues before the end of the season — a distinct possibility with rosters expanding on Friday — Garver will finish the season with a .291/.387/.541 line with the Red Wings, while Granite checks in at .338/.392/.475.
- By wRC+, the Twins boast the No. 4 offense in MLB in August (117). They’re hitting .275/.343/.486 this month.
- The Twins are second in MLB in home runs in August (48) and runs scored (161).
- Twins pitchers have a 3.87 ERA in August — ninth in MLB. That breaks down to a 4.11 mark from starters (10th) and a 3.45 mark from relievers (eighth).
- Only two players — Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins and Eugenio Suarez of the Cincinnati Reds — have a higher fWAR in August than Byron Buxton’s 1.8. Jorge Polanco is tied for sixth with Joey Votto of the Reds and Brian Dozier is tied for 10th with Nelson Cruz of the Mariners, Elvis Andrus of the Rangers, Gary Sanchez of the Yankees and Mike Trout of the Angels.