On Tuesday, two potential postseason teams from different leagues, the Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins, will meet in the first game of a brand new series at Target Field in Minneapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 7:40 P.N ET.
Nats Looking to Course-Correct
In their most recent game, the Washington Nationals beat Atlanta 9-4 on the road to improve to 79-63. It was a big win against a very good team but it was extra special because it ended a four-game losing streak and made sure the Nats would avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Braves. The Nats currently hold the final spot in the NL Wild Card race, sitting 2.5 games ahead of the Chicago Cubs, the team holding the final spot.
Before their 9-4 win against Atlanta on Sunday, the offense for Washington was having a tough time, scoring 13 runs in four games. As a whole, though, the unit has been spectacular in the second half. In 53 games post-All-Star break, the Nats offense is hitting an impressive .281 as a team with a .845 OPS. In the same breath, the pitching staff has posted a .247 BAA in the second half while allowing 4.5 runs/game. By comparison, the offense has averaged more than six runs/game.
On Tuesday, the ball will go to Anibal Sanchez, who hopes to give his team back-to-back wins. Sanchez is coming off a tough start where he allowed seven earned runs in five innings. Luckily, before that he was on fire, posting a 3.81 ERA in five August starts. Overall, he has a 4.11 ERA this season with a .243 BAA.
Twins Have Big Lead in AL Central
The way it looks right now, the Minnesota Twins are headed to the postseason. They currently have an 88-55 record, a five-game lead in the AL Central division race, and a 99.4 percent chance to make the postseason, per ESPN.
How they’ve done it is by way of a great offense and manageable pitching staff. Since the second half began, they’re hitting .268 as a team with a .838 OPS. On the other side, the pitching staff hasn’t been great — .273 BAA, .772 OPS — but they haven’t totally imploded. In a postseason series, however, they’ll really be tested because they don’t have the guys at the top of the rotation like a Houston or Cleveland.
That said, Jose Berrios is one of the best they have, and he’ll be starting in Game 1 vs. Washington. Berrios leads the team in strikeouts this year (160) while maintaining a 3.78 ERA. In 28 starts, Berrios’ 18 quality starts is also a team-high. Recently, Berrios has struggled, posting a 7.71 ERA in his last three outings.
On Tuesday, Twins slugger Nelson Cruz, who has 35 jacks this year, is questionable with a bum wrist. He hasn’t played since September 6th.
- 1-4 in their last 5 interleague home games.
- 0-4 in Berrios’ last 4 starts vs. winning teams
- 5-11 in their last 16 games vs. NL East.
- 8-3 in their last 11 games vs. AL Central.
- 7-3 in their last 10 Tuesday games.
- 9-2 in their last 11 games after an off day.