The penultimate week of the 2020 MLB season comes to a close with a Sunday night game between the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs. After the Twins won at Wrigley Field 8-1 on Saturday night, this will be the rubber match of the three-game series. The Cubs are favored with a moneyline of -150, while the Twins have a moneyline of +130.
Before losing on Saturday, the Cubs had rattled off five wins in a row. Despite the loss, Chicago still sits 10 games over .500 and is on the cusp of locking up a playoff spot. The Cubs hold a 4.5-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central, but with the Cardinals set to play three more games over the final week, the Cubs still need a few more wins to wrap up the division title.
Meanwhile, the Twins also sit 10 games over .500, although they have already secured at least a Wild Card spot. However, Minnesota is three games behind the White Sox for first place in the AL Central, so the Twins are running out of time to guarantee themselves a home series in the playoffs.
The Twins have also lost four of their last six games, even with Saturday’s win, so they’ll be hoping to win a series and start to build some momentum ahead of the playoffs.
The Real Deal?
Jose Berrios will get the start for the Twins on Sunday. Minnesota’s young ace has experienced an up and down season in 2020.
However, he’s been a little better lately, posting a 2.81 ERA over his three starts in September, bringing his ERA for the season down to 4.15 after 10 starts. The Twins would like him to continue to pitch at a high level down the stretch so that he can lead the rotation in the playoffs.
Of course, the Cubs will be a good challenge for Berrios. With Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo underperforming this year, Chicago’s lineup isn’t as good as it has been in past seasons.
However, Ian Happ and Jason Heyward have come alive in 2020, helping to make up for other players’ struggles. Heyward, Jason Kipnis, and Willson Contreras have led the way in September, serving as the catalysts for Chicago’s recent winning streak.
Yu Da Man
Yu Darvish will get the start for the Cubs on Sunday. He has put himself in prime position to win the Cy Young this season. Through 10 starts, Darvish is 7-2 with a 1.86 ERA, striking out 79 over 63 innings of work. That being said, he’s been a tad less dominant over his last two starts.
After seven straight starts in which he allowed one run or less, Darvish has allowed three runs in his previous two starts. Last time out, only two of the runs were earned, but he also scattered nine hits over seven innings. He still looks like a frontline pitcher, but Darvish has looked a little more hittable lately.
The Twins, of course, have one of the most powerful lineups in baseball. Minnesota already has four players who have hit at least 12 home runs this year.
Nelson Cruz, in particular, has been outstanding all season, batting .314 with 16 home runs. Josh Donaldson has also been swinging a hot bat since coming off the IL in early September, joining Cruz, Eddie Rosario, and Byron Buxton in forming a strong core of the Minnesota lineup.
This is a tough game to call, but with their recent winning streak, the Cubs are still the best bet despite losing to Minnesota on Saturday. Plus, Darvish is still a more reliable starter than Berrios.
Bet on the Cubs to win Sunday night.