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Alright boys, today is game two of a three parter at Wrigley. The Sox absolutely demolished the Cubs in the series opener last night, winning by a score of 10-1 thanks to a strong outing from Dallas Keuchel and six bombs that travelled a combined 2,547 feet. The Sox have now won six straight and sit just one game back of the Twins for the division lead. This team is on fire but far bigger challenges await these next two games. One of those challenges will be Kyle Hendricks, who makes the start for the Cubs today. Kyle is off to an excellent start this season with a 3-2 record and a 2.71 FIP while generating lots of weak contact via his sinker / changeup heavy approach and pinpoint command of the strike zone. Hendricks has faced the Sox seven times in his career and despite a 1-3 record he’s actually been pretty good against us posting a better than career average FIP (3.26) & strikeout rate (8.5/9). That being said, rosters obviously change over time and only two members of our current team have more than 10+ plate appearances against him in Jose & Tim. Both have been awesome against Hendricks posting OPS’s of 1.134 & .900 respectively. If the offense can just avoid chasing Hendricks’ curves & changeups outside of the strike zone, they’ll hopefully see more 87 MPH four seamers in the zone and have a chance to score more runs than expected today. As for the Sox, we’ll be rolling with Reynaldo Lopez today fresh off the IL. I’ll be honest, I was a huge fan of his when he was first acquired in the Eaton trade and would love to put a positive spin on what he might offer today, but he has simply failed to show much development under Cooper. Despite elite velocity, Reynaldo has struggled due to inconsistent / poor spin on his four seamer and an inability to command his secondary pitches. That being said, occasionally it all clicks and he’s able to dominate like he did against the Cubs back in 2018. And if nothing else works, at least we have StatCast’s “similar pitchers” to dream on! Let’s fucking go boys!!!!!!!
Alright guys, today the Sox look to win the rubber match and take the series! On the mound for the Twins is a guy that Sox players have little track record against, but one who poses a dangerous threat. As the Statcast data below shows, Maeda is a highly effective pitcher without gaudy velocity numbers, with his success driven by frequently changing speeds and getting hitters to chase sliders (against RHs) and changeups (against LHs) outside the bottom part of the zone. The slider in particular is deadly (Fangraphs ranked it 3rd overall in pitch value last year) and Maeda deploys it against righties over 50% of the time. Guys like Eloy, Abreu, & Robert will likely be pummeled by sliders down & away and will need to lay off the ones outside of the zone if they want any chance to be successful. On the mound for us is a guy coming off a very disappointing 2019 season and with an incredibly poor track record against the Twins. His career OPS against current Twins hitters is a whopping .970 and that’s over 110 ABs. I said this a ton last year, but he desperately needs to find a way to get his secondary pitches working. Obviously his fastball velocity is great, but it’s lack of consistent spin means he can’t use it 60% of the time. If he’s unable to command his slider today and goes too fastball heavy he will get destroyed by the likes of Cruz, Donaldson, & Garver. Regardless of pitch mix, having Grandal could be a game changer for Lopez as he was the most impacted starter in all of baseball last year by poor pitch framing. I know this may not be the most optimistic way to start a game-thread, but clearly this is not an ideal matchup for us on paper and I want to appease the baseball gods by being respectful of that fact. That being said, who gives a fuck because this is baseball and anything can happen on any given day, especially when you have a Luis Robert! Let’s fucking go!!
The Sox had a season high 19 hits and routed ex Sox Jose Quintana on their way to a 10-4 drubbing of the Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field. Reynaldo Lopez continued his stellar pitching as of late allowing 1 or less runs in his last 5 starts while pitching at least 6 inning. He pitched 7 strong inning allowing 1 R, 5 hits, 0 walks and 8 K's. The Sox balanced attack was led by Kevan Smith who hit a 3 run HR off Q in the 2nd. He was 2 for 2 until Palka pinch hit for him and promptly hit his 27th HR. Ryan LaMarre went 3/3 with 3 RBI. Moncada 3/4, Castillo 3/5 , Davidson 2/4 and everyone who had an AB got a hit.