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Minnesota southpaw Tommy Milone has excelled since rejoining the rotation on June 4, yielding just five earned runs over 19 innings pitched (2.37 ERA & 1.00 WHIP; 13/2 K/BB). Milone turned heads at Triple-A Rochester earlier this season where he was a perfect 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA and 1.67 FIP. Over those 38.2 innings of work, the veteran hurler garnered 33.6% strikeout rate (10.94 K/9), together with a 2.1% walk rate (0.70 BB/9). That’s 47 strikeouts to just three walks, which is one of the reasons why management chose Milone to replace Ricky Nolasco’s spot in the rotation.
Milone succeeded by throwing a lot of strikes (70.4% vs. MLB career average of 64.4%) and by inducing a lot more swinging strikes. Indeed, batters hit a mere .236/.257/.389 against him during his minor league stint. While I certainly don’t suggest that 38.2 innings at the Triple-A level are significant, the results do provide some basis in which to back Milone tonight against one of the worst offenses in baseball.
The White Sox are batting just .237 with a .286 on base percentage this season (3.4 runs per game), including hitting .189 with a .240 on base percentage against left-handed starters (2.3 runs per game), .233 with a .283 on base percentage versus division foes and .169 with a .220 on base percentage over the last ten days (1.3 runs per game).
Milone has also enjoyed success against Chicago, going 2-0 with a 1.39 ERA and 0.80 in five career starts. Earlier this season, the crafty southpaw threw 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball against the White Sox’ anemic offense. Milone is also backed by a reliable Minnesota bullpen that owns a 3.41 ERA and 1.26 WHIP at home, a 2.67 ERA and 1.26 WHIP at night and a 1.12 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over the last seven games. In contrast, Chicago relievers have posted an alarming 4.72 ERA and 1.72 WHIP in 89 2/3 innings of work on the road this season.
The really bad news for Chicago fans is the fact that John Danks takes the mound tonight at Target Field, where he is 2-6 with a career 7.96 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in 50 innings pitched (nine career starts). In short, Target Field has been a house of horrors for Danks, but so has 2015.
The left-hander is 3-7 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.45 WHIP this season, including going 2-4 with a 4.85 ERA and 1.48 WHIP on the road, 1-4 with a 6.03 ERA and 1.46 WHIP at night, 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA and 1.76 WHIP versus division opponents and 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in his last three outings. Banks has allowed 12 earned runs on 24 hits in his three outings since throwing a complete game on May 31.
For his career, Danks is 7-14 with a 5.67 ERA and 1.55 WHIP versus the Twins, with Joe Mauer batting .383 with nine RBIs and three doubles against him (60 at-bats) and Tori Hunter hitting .327 with four home runs and 11 RBIS in 52 at-bats. Right-handed batters are hitting .307 with a 12.8% FB/HR rate against Danks this season. From a technical standpoint, Chicago is a money-burning 17-36 on the road, 13-40 on the road versus teams with a home winning percentage greater than .601 and 2-8 in its last ten games overall.
With Danks toeing the rubber, the White Sox are 3-8 versus division foes, 3-9 on the road and 1-5 in his last six starts. Minnesota is a profitable 23-8 versus teams with a losing record, while Milone’s teams are an incredible 40-19 (+22.6 units) at night in his MLB career.
With Chicago standing at 7-19 in Danks’ last 26 starts against Minnesota, including 2-12 at Target Field, take the Twins and invest with confidence.