May 11, 2017 | Cubs Farm Watch | LEAVE A COMMENT
The Chicago White Sox (15-16) play host to the division-rival Minnesota Twins (16-14) after Wednesday’s game between the teams was postponed because of rain and rescheduled as part of a double header on Aug. 21. The Twins trounced the White Sox on Tuesday evening 7-2, Chicago’s fourth consecutive defeat.
The White Sox will skip yesterday’s scheduled starter Miguel Gonzalez and instead send veteran revelation Derek Holland (3-2, 2.02 ERA) to the mound. Minnesota will counter with veteran Phil Hughes (4-1, 4.32 ERA). Expected to return to the Twins lineup are Brian Dozier (injury) and Miguel Sano (suspension).
The White Sox have produced the third-best ERA in the Major Leagues (3.47). Their starters’ ERA ranks 10th at 4.04 and their relievers second at 2.39 ERA. But the White Sox hitting has not complemented a solid pitching staff. They have scored the fourth-fewest runs and have the eighth-lowest batting average (.235).
Despite the White Sox’ competitive start, general manager Rick Hahn would almost certainly trade veterans Holland, Anthony Swarzak, Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera, all of whom can become free agents at season’s end, if he could add a booty of top prospects like the one he acquired this past offseason for Chris Sale and Adam Eaton.
Here is the White Sox batting order and defensive lineup for tonight’s game:
Here is the the Twins starting lineup for tonight’s game:
The White Sox first-inning woes continues, They have now allowed at least one run in the first inning in four of their last five games. Derek Holland allowed more runs in the first inning than he had allowed in any previous appearance this season. None of the runs was earned because of an error by first baseman Jose Abreu, but Abreu cannot be blamed for the 413-foot home run off the bat of designated hitter Eduardo Escobar. The Twins lead 4-0 after one inning.
The law of averages has collected its debt from Holland. Of 114 pitchers who had thrown a minimum of 30 innings, Holland had the 10th highest fly ball rate. Yet he had the 100th best home run/fly ball rate. The fly ball propensity has haunted him tonight.
The White Sox scratched across two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. They might have scored more but for Matt Davidson’s inexplicable decision to try to go from first to third on Tim Anderson’s single. He was thrown out, ending the inning.
The Sox have flipped the script tonight. Their offense, listless most of the season, has rallied to cut the deficit to 7-5 through five innings. Holland has been lifted. He tossed five innings and yielded a season high-tying seven runs and four walks. He was also the victim of a season-high three homers. The volume of fly balls Holland has allowed this season is staggering. He will have to induce more grounders for the White Sox to maximize his trade value.
Relievers Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings and Tommy Kahnle have combined to pitch three scoreless innings, giving the White Sox a chance to come back against the seventh-worst bullpen in MLB (4.79 ERA). They trail 7-6 entering their half of the seventh.
The White Sox rallied from a 6-0 deficit but fell short, losing to the Twins 7-6, their fifth-straight defeat. First-year White Sox manager Rick Renteria is trying to instill a greater resolve in what had become a defeatist clubhouse under his predecessor.
Renteria spoke proudly of his team’s spirited comeback and aggressive play.
Veterans and possible trade chips Cabrera, David Robertson, Swarzak and Dan Jennings all performed well. The downside for the White Sox, far greater than the loss, was the performance of starting pitcher Holland. One start does not a season make, but this has been a year of living dangerously for Holland. He allowed a season-high three home runs and several other deep outs. He must induce more ground balls.
Ultimately, this season will be measured by the progress of the White Sox’s top minor league prospects; the development of potential young core pieces on the Major League roster such as Carlos Rodon (injured) Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia and possibly Jose Quintana; and management’s ability to flip other veterans for more exciting prospects.