Favored Minnesota needs to go to work

Favored Minnesota needs to go to work

The margin of error for the Minnesota Twins is razor thin, one slip up and the chances of returning to the post-season are up in smoke. Minnesota plays host to the Chicago White Sox


2008-09-23

The margin of error for the Minnesota Twins is razor thin, one slip up and the chances of returning to the post-season are up in smoke. Minnesota plays host to the Chicago White Sox, who lead the AL Central by three games in the loss column, meaning anything less than sweep would be fatal, sense the chances of the Pale Hose losing three in a row at home to Kansas City would be remote. Whether the Twins play them one at a time or focus on winning all three contests, the results need to be the same; they must defeat Chicago in the next trio of games.

Minnesota placed themselves in this predicament with road failures. In the later stages of August, the Twins had their longest road trip in 39 years (14 games) and after winning the first two against the Angels, then went on to lose nine of the last 12. Upon returning home, they split six games at the Metrodome versus Detroit and Kansas City and won only four games in following 10-game road trip. Since August 23, manager Ron Gardenhire's club is 10-19, costing backers -11.7 units.
What gives the Twins a glimmer of hope is the White Sox did not runaway and hide. Manager Ozzie Guillen's club is 10-13 in last 23 ballgames, including 5-9 on the road. "It's pretty simple at this point," Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko said. "You don't need to speculate about a lot. It is head-to-head. If we have a bad series, I don't think it is the end of anything. But if we have a good one, that should do it I would think. So that's our goal."

Chicago is 35-43 on the road and will face Sam Baker (9-4, 3.69 ERA). The White Sox are 21-32 in road games against right-handed starters this season. The South Siders are 3-4 on current road trip after taking series in Kansas City and are 15-6 after six or more consecutive road games this season. Baker is the oldest member of the Twins starting rotation at 27. He's the one guy that should be ready for this, out of all of them," Gardenhire told his team's official Web site. "He's been around the most, pitched in some ballgames and hasn't backed away." Baker is 2-2 lifetime against the White Sox with extra large 7.99 ERA against them.

Javier Vazquez (12-14, 4.32) has been more up and down than a Duncan yo-yo and will need a big start to take the pressure off his club. Vazquez is 5-0 with a 3.19 ERA in seven starts against the Twins since the beginning of 2007, though only 1-4 with a 5.68 lifetime ERA at the Metrodome. He has really struggled against good teams, as he and the Pale Hose are 0-7 playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season, losing by 3.8 runs per game.
Sportsbook.com has Minnesota as a -133 money line home favorite with the total Ov8.5. The Twinkies are 49-26 at home and 26-12 at the Metrodome vs. a starting pitcher whose strikes out five or more batters per start over the last three seasons. Chicago is 38-20 UNDER as an underdog of +100 to +150 this season Minnesota is 76-47 UNDER as a favorite of -125 to -175 over a much longer span of time.
The first pitch is scheduled to be at about 8:10 Eastern and can be seen in local markets and on MLB.TV. The Twins have won five of six versus Chicago at home and are 14-3 after a day off this year.
StatFox Power Line Minnesota -116


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