Baseball Press presents "The 606", a look at the most intriguing pitching matchup of the day, with a final prediction of the winning pitcher. You may be asking yourself "What exactly does The 606 mean? There's no major league baseball for that area code- it's in Eastern Kentucky!" BBP isn't listing players from Eastern Kentucky either. The 606 is short for 60 feet and 6 inches. If you still don't understand, I direct your attention to Official Rule 1.07 from Major League Baseball, referring to the distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at today's featured pitching matchup for Tuesday, August 17th.
Yesterday in the 606, the Dodgers and Braves held true to form by letting down both of their starting pitchers yesterday as both Tommy Hanson
and Chad Billingsley
pitched well enough to win, but neither did.
No Decision: Tommy Hanson (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0.86 WHIP)
The 606 Season-to-Date Record (W-L-ND): 95-83-58, 3.76 ERA (615 ER in 1473.1 IP)
Today in the 606, divisional foes face off in the Twin Cities kicking off a series that could make or break either teams Playoff hopes as the AL Central is too close to call.
LHP John Danks
- CHW (12-8, 3.19 ERA) vs. RHP Scott Baker
- MIN (10-9, 4.76 ERA)
Flashback to last week. The Twins came into the Cell on the South Side of Chicago and took 2 out of 3 from the White Sox. This week the Sox head into "The Star of the North" to return the favor to the Twins. 3 games divide these division rivals, with the Sox hoping to sweep the Twins to bring them into a tie for the lead in the AL Central. In the series in Chicago, the only White Sox pitcher to collect a win was John Danks - and this time he kicks off the three game set in Minnesota. Danks has matured greatly as a pitcher this season, really getting a better idea of how to approach batters and having a better control of the strike zone. He has dropped his 2009 walk rate of 3.29 walks per 9 innings down to 2.78 walks per 9. Danks has accumulated a lot of history between himself and Twins hitters in the past 3 seasons and it is not too favorable. As a team the Twins are hitting .301 against the South Paw in 276 at-bats. Most notable are Michael Cuddyer (.488 with 5 home runs in 41 at-bats), Joe Mauer (.359 in 39 at-bats) and Denard Span (.310 in 29 at-bats). Danks is lucky that the Twins are missing Justin Morneau out of their line-up, who also has impressive numbers against him - slash line of .355/.512/.710 with 3 home runs.
Scott Baker's picture would not be found next to the word consistent, consistency or even predictable in the dictionary. His earned run totals from game to game look like a roller coaster rising high to 5 or 6, falling to 0 in his next start, only to climb back up the next hill immediately to a total of 5 again. Even though his command of the strike zone has been better, posting a career best strike out to walk ratio and walk rate, he has been very hittable which is the reason for the slightly inflated ERA of 4.76. The last time out against the White Sox he collected a win, but it was more in thanks to his offense putting up a bigger run total that the 5 runs, 4 earned, that he allowed along with the 8 hits and 1 walk. Even with that start though he is 3-0 over his last 4 starts, posting an ERA of 3.08 over that time. Like the Twins' hitters against Danks, the Pale Hoes have seen Baker quite a few times. Baker has held the Sox as a team to a modest .250 average over 160 at-bats. Paul Konerko
has touched him up for 3 home runs while hitting .300 in 30 at-bats. The recently activated Mark Teahen
will probably be slotted into the order today, he is hitting Baker at a .345 clip with a .815 OPS in 29 at-bats. The only other White Sox player that has taken Baker deep is Carlos Quentin
, but he has also struck out 5 times in his 12 at-bats.
Final Prediction: John Danks