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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!!