Twins 5, White Sox 1: Minnesota bullpen cools off offense

The White Sox had two hits. The Twins had three homers. That usually won’t win a ballgame, and it didn’t tonight.

It wasn’t for a lack of effort. Under better conditions, the White Sox might’ve had three or four homers themselves, as a few of their attempts died on the warning track. José Abreu was the only one to conquer the conditions, hitting his 16th homer, and yet another one that came after a brushback pitch.

Alas, only two batters after Abreu got to face Jake Odorizzi, because a blister issue forced him out of the game with two outs in the fourth. When the Twins bullpen came in, the White Sox had nothing.

Literally. Cody Stashak, Tyler Duffey and Trevor May retired all 16 batters they faced, including seven by strikeout. Twins pitching retired the final 18 in a row, and so the White Sox could never climb out of a 3-0 deficit.

Lucas Giolito pitched neither well nor poorly, but a quality start feels beneath him. He allowed just three hits and three walks over six innings, but two of those hits left the yard. Eddie Rosario didn’t get fooled when James McCann tried to triple him up on changeups, and he stayed back enough to flip a fly ball into the Goose Island for a solo shot in the second.

Two innings later, Byron Buxton ambushed a decent first-pitch fastball that was in the upper reaches of the strike zone on the outside corner, pushing it just out of reach of a leaping Luis Robert in center field for his second homer in as many games. This one drove in two, and provided all the runs the four Twins pitchers needed.

Matt Foster gave up the third homer during an uncharacteristically rough two-thirds of an inning. He struggled with his footing on a leadoff walk, then gave up a two-run blast to Miguel Sanó. Jimmy Cordero finished his eighth inning, and took the remainder of the game.

Bullet points:

*Tim Anderson went 1-for-4, but was erased from the basepaths on an awkward steal attempt. He took off for second on a full-count pitch Yasmani Grandal, but doubled back before reaching second. Maybe he thought that Grandal would swing at anything in the strike zone.

*Alex Avila went 1-for-4, and the hit was a 37.2 mph nubber that Ross Detwiler let spin fair.

*Reynaldo López is starting the finale, with Dallas Keuchel saved for the Cincinnati series in order to line him up for the playoffs.

*The White Sox’s magic number is 1.

Record: 32-17 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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MasGarcias

How does Keuchel not start tomorrow? Is not his spot in the rotation After Giolito anymore? Plus the IL stay was from a back injury – one that is made worse by flying.. so they start him right after the flight??
I honestly wouldn’t mind both Lucas and Dallas getting an extra day to get lined up for the post season but this all seems odd… Like they are hoping just one extra day solves some larger issue that they are hiding.

burning-phoneix

Not really. They have the post season almost locked down now. No need to go all out and be uber strict about rotation sequencing.

texag10

I think they need to give Robert the day off today. He has not looked sharp this series. Nobody on the team really looked great against Odorizzi last night but Robert still stuck out.

MarketMaker

He’s definitely in a funk. And with his plate discipline, when he’s not punishing mistakes it’s gonna be ugly.

texag10

I mean, it appears to me his plate discipline has been better this series than the first one. He’s just taking offspeed down the middle and swinging through fastballs in the zone. He was never going to have a 50+ hit tool but I’d like to see a little better contact on meat pitches.

Eagle Bones

This is completely anecdotal, but his plate discipline doesn’t feel like it’s changed a ton. Seems like he’s just missing the mistakes right now (whereas he was punishing them earlier in the year).

Right Size Wrong Shape

He just had a day off, so hopefully fatigue isn’t a factor. I think he just needs to work his way through it. He’s not seeing the ball well right now, for whatever reason. It happens, it’s just magnified in a shortened season.

texag10

I agree that its probably not fatigue. I think, given where we are in the season and what’s at stake, now is the perfect time for Renteria to sit him and give him the opportunity to take some mental reps and try to figure out what’s happening. I’d much rather lose a game now over having him striking out 4 times in a playoff game.

Oddvark

Since I also doubt that fatigue is the issue, I think there is a chance that taking him out of the lineup (again – he just had a day off on Sunday) will be bad for him mentally, making him press even more to perform for fear of being benched. I leave him in the lineup and trust Ricky and Abreu’s veteran leadership to help him let the bad days go and to keep working on his game moving forward.