The Sox are going to take the division tomorrow. Here’s why:
1. They’re not playing in the Dome. The Sox went 1-8 in Minneapolis this season, compared to 52-28 at the Joan. Sox pitching gave up just under six runs per game at the HHH, while the Twins’ are 2-7 on the South Side and allowed nearly eight earned runs per game. This bodes well for the Good Guys. Very well indeed.
2. They’re not playing in the Dome. It makes sense the Twins play the game they play. Not just in a fundamental, that’s-how-you-win-games way but in a practical, our-park-forces-us-to way: the fast infield, strange lighting, huge outfield and artificial wind patterns in the HHH mean death for anything stronger than a bunt or a bloop single. Comiskey, on the other hand, is built for nothing short of brute force. When the Sox show up tomorrow with the wrecking crew, the Twins’ handful of manufactured runs will be rendered worthless.
3. They’re not playing in the Dome. With John Danks pitching on short rest, the first pitcher in line for long relief is none other than Javier Vazquez. Opponents are hitting .250 against #33 in the first five innings of his outings, compared to .360 in the sixth. This man was built for short stints; smart money says he’s warming up in the third.
4. They’re not playing in the Dome. In symbolic terms, this would also line up Mark Buehrle as the starter for the hypothetical first game of the ALDS Thursday. Considering the volatility, fragility and inexperience of the rest of the staff, sending Buehrle out would make for a good duel against Scott Kazmir, James Shields, or whoever is going to hand the Sox a 3-1 loss in the theoretical opener. Jermaine Dye gets the solo home run, in case you were wondering.
5. They’re not playing in the Dome. All things considered, it’s amazing we’re even talking about this. Here’s hoping all ends well that takes notes on how to play well.