The Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins continue their three-game Interleague series on Wednesday. The Twins opened the series with a 5-0 victory over the Nationals on Tuesday.
The Nationals are 79-64 this season after winning just one of their last five games, including a 5-0 loss against the Twins to start this series. As a team, they are now sitting in second place in the National League East, 9.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves.
Washington is on the road for this series, and the Nationals are 38-35 in away games this year and 46-47 in games they are favored in. They are batting .263 as a team with 206 home runs and a 4.36 ERA. The Nationals currently have three players on the IL, including two catchers, forcing them to shuffle their lineup.
The Nationals are primarily favored in this game because of who is on the mound. Stephen Strasburg will be looking to get his 17th win of the season in this outing. Strasburg is 16-6 this year with a 3.50 ERA and 222 strikeouts.
In his last start, Strasburg took a loss after allowing three runs on four hits over six innings. He has slowed down since his perfect month in July where he grabbed a win in all his five outings, but there is no reason to think he cannot be dominant in this game.
Leading from the plate for the Nationals have been Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. Soto is carrying a .295 batting average with 33 home runs and 101 runs batted in. Rendon is batting .335 with 32 home runs and 114 RBI.
The Twins are still holding on to first place in the American League Central, five games over the Cleveland Indians. They are now 89-55 this season after winning six of their last 10. They will have to continue to play good baseball for the remainder of the season if they want to keep the Indians at bay in the division.
Minnesota is at home for this series where it is 41-31 this season. The Twins are the underdogs in this game, but as the underdog, they have a 31-12 record on the year.
As a team, the Twins are batting .270 with 276 home runs and are one of the most productive offenses in the league. They also have a team ERA of 4.14. They currently have five players out, including Miguel Sano and Max Kepler, Kepler is the home run leader on the team with 36.
Martin Perez will be getting the start for the Twins in this game where he will be tasked with taking on Strasburg. In his last outing, Perez got his 10th win of the season, over the Red Sox, where he gave up just one run over six innings. This season Perez is 10-6 with a 4.75 ERA and 121 strikeouts. He has put together a solid season but will have a tough matchup in this one.
With Kepler out, the Twins will look to their other leaders on offense to fill the void. Nelson Cruz carries a team-best .302 batting average with 35 home runs and 92 runs batted in. Leftfielder Eddie Rosario has a .276 batting average with 28 home runs and 94 RBI.
What To Expect
Despite Washington being the favorite and having Strasburg on the mound, I like the Twins to claim another win as an underdog in this one. Rosario is a serviceable pitcher than should keep them in the game, and with the Twins being at home, I believe it will be a close game. Minnesota takes the second game of the series.