By Jay Patel
The Nationals have emerged as the frontrunners for the 1st Wild Card spot. If they keep winning, they’ll easily secure the 1st Wild Card spot, and enjoy home-field advantage. The Twins have a solid lead on the Indians for the division title, but there’s still a lot of baseball left to be played.
Money Line- Washington Nationals (-125) Minnesota Twins (+115)
Run Line- Washington Nationals (-1.5) Minnesota Twins (+1.5)
First Pitch- 7:40 P.M. ET, Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Pitching- Patrick Corbin (3.16 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (4.58)
The Nationals have enjoyed a stellar season. They started off slow because a lackluster bullpen, and a stagnant offense. However, they have hit their groove since, and hold a commanding lead in the Wild Card race. They currently have a 97.7% to clinch a Wild Card berth, according to baseball reference.
This team is full of great players. Their starting rotation is a problem for opposing offenses. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin is a scary trio to face. Corbin, an offseason acquisition, is pitching today. He has an excellent 3.16 ERA in his first season with the team. With him on the mound today, the Nationals have a great chance to win the interleague series against the AL Central division leaders. The Nationals offense is no joke either. Juan Soto (33 HR, 102 RBI) is having a breakout season. Pair him with the explosive Anthony Rendon (.333 AVG), and you got a dangerous 1-2 punch in your lineup. With the power in their lineup, they also have effective role players such as Trea Turner and Adam Eaton. This team is well equipped for a deep playoff run.
The Twins have returned to playoff form this season after a disappointing end last year. Due to their power surge, that’s one of the main reasons for their success this year. They have EIGHT players with over 20 HR. That’s insane. Several players have broken out this year including Max Kepler, Mitch Garver, and Jorge Polanco. This doesn’t even include the resurgence of Jonathan Schoop. This lineup is one of the best in baseball. If a pitcher can’t control his pitches, and makes some mistakes, the Twins will make them pay.
Kyle Gibson will face Patrick Corbin in the rubber match. Gibson is coming off of an injury, and is trying to earn his 14th win on the season. He has 4.58 ERA this season which isn’t great. The Nationals offense has a chance to take advantage since Gibson may not last long. The Twins bullpen will have to be ready in case Gibson has some setbacks coming off an IL stint.
Analysis and Prediction
This has been a fun series. Both teams are legitimate playoff contenders. Today will conclude the three-game interleague series. The Nationals have the pitching edge, but both offenses can hammer the ball. The Twins may be the underdogs, but I’m taking the Twins tonight. They got home-field advantage, and a lineup that can handle anything.