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The Minnesota Twins host the Washington Nationals Wednesday in the second game of a three-game series. The Twins come in with a record of 88-55 while the Nationals are 79-63 – not counting the results of Tuesday night’s game. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg (16-6) gets the start for the Nationals while the Twins go with left-hander Martin Perez (10-6). Game time is 7:40 p.m. Eastern at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Nationals avoid sweep by Braves
The Washington Nationals avoided getting swept by NL East leader the Atlanta Braves Sunday with a 9-4 win. The victory snapped a 4 game losing streak and improved the Nationals record to 79-63. The Nationals won’t catch the Braves in the NL East as they are 9.5 games back, but they are in good shape regarding the wildcard. They are 2.5 games ahead of the Cubs for the top wildcard spot and hold a 4.5 game lead over the Brewers for the second wildcard spot. So it would take a major collapse to miss the playoffs.
Are Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto the league’s best offensive duo? The numbers say yes https://t.co/PFVv8s32Dh
— NBC Sports Nationals (@NBCSNationals) September 6, 2019
The Nationals have stumbled as of late, but they have been playing great baseball overall in the second half. They average 5.4 runs per game, which is 6th in baseball. They also have a team batting average of .264, which is 7th in the league, and a team slugging percentage of 4.56, which is also 7th. Also, they are 13th in homers. Anthony Rendon leads the Nationals in every major category. He is having an MVP caliber season. He is batting .337, which leads the majors. He has 114 RBIs, which is second in the NL (and majors), and he has 32 home runs. Juan Soto is hitting .299 with a team-high 33 home runs and 101 RBIs. Also, Howie Kendrick is batting .326 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs.
The Nationals pitching has been pretty solid. They have a team ERA of 4.35, which is 12th in the league. They have a WHIP of 1.31, which is 12th. Their ace, Stephen Strasburg, gets the start. The right-hander is 16-6 with an ERA of 3.50 and 222 strikeouts. In his last outing, he gave up 3 runs in 6 innings in a loss.
Twins hold 5 game lead in AL Central
The Minnesota Twins are coming off a series where they lost 2 out of 3 to the Indians, but they still hold a five-game lead in the AL Central over the Indians. The division title looks to be a lock, but never say never. They still need to win series and they can’t afford to falter here against a very dangerous Nationals team. Currently, they hold an 88-55 record – not counting Tuesday night’s game.
The Twins offense is among the very best in the majors. They average 5.8 runs per game, which is 1st in the Majors. They hit .270 as a team, which is 3rd in the league, and they have a slugging percentage of .496, which is first. They are also first in home runs. Nelson Cruz leads the Twins hitting .305 with 35 HRs and 92 RBIs. Max Kepler leads the team with 36 home runs and 90 RBIs and is batting .252. Eddie Rosario has 28 home runs along with 94 RBIs. He is batting .275. Also, Miguel Sano has 27 home runs with 61 RBIs.
But they are dealing with some injuries. Three of their best hitters — Sano, Kepler, and Cruz — are battling injuries and are questionable.
The Twins pitching has been very solid this year. They have a team ERA of 4.17, which is 8th in the league. They have a team WHIP of 1.30, which is 8th. Martin Perez gets the start for the Twins. Perez, a left-hander, is 10-6 with a 4.75 ERA. Perez was great last time out versus the Red Sox, allowing 1 run in 6 innings in a win.
- Twins are 5-11 in their last 16 vs. National League East.
- Twins are 4-9 in their last 13 home games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Twins are 2-7 in their last 9 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Twins are 2-7 in their last 9 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
- Twins are 1-4 in their last 5 Wednesday games.
- Twins are 1-4 in their last 5 interleague home games.
- Nationals are 7-2 in their last 9 games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Nationals are 8-3 in their last 11 vs. American League Central.
- Nationals are 5-2 in their last 7 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Nationals are 5-0 in Strasburg’s last 5 starts vs. American League Central.
- Nationals are 8-0 in Strasburg’s last 8 interleague starts.
- Nationals are 25-8 in Strasburg’s last 33 Wednesday starts.
- Nationals are 21-7 in Strasburg’s last 28 starts with 5 days of rest.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take the Nationals. I love the Nationals here. They have one of their aces going in Stephen Strasburg, who is 16-6. Plus, the Twins may be without three of their best hitters in Cruz, Kepler, and Sano, who are banged up. That certainly doesn’t help. His counterpart, Perez, has been inconsistent. He was great last time out, but got pounded the outing before that. That’s been kind of his up and down pattern throughout the year, as would reflect his near 5 ERA. In addition, the Nats hit lefties very well. These trends all favor the Nationals, who are 5-0 in the last 5 meetings against the Twins.
Prediction: Washington -135
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the under here. It’s not often that the Twins play in the under given their ridiculously productive lineup. But in this game, they are facing one of the league’s best pitchers in Strasburg and three of their best hitters are banged up. The Nationals should be able to hit against Perez, but I think the over-under is set too high. Look for a score like 5-2, Nats. The under is 15-6-1 in Strasburg’s last 22 road starts vs. a team with a winning record. Also, the under is 6-0 in Twins last 6 games vs. a right-handed starter and 7-0 in their last 7 games overall.