The Minnesota Twins will have one of their most intriguing interleague matchups to date as they host a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves.
While the Minnesota Twins have had a season that is on pace for 100 wins, one area where the team has struggled is in interleague play. Heading over to the National League has not been kind for the Twins this season as they’ve gone 5-7 against the senior circuit and will have their most challenging series to date when they host the Atlanta Braves this week.
In the Braves, the Twins will get a visit from the leaders in the National League East division. Just like Minnesota, the Braves are battling for one of the top records and home-field advantage in the National League and have enough firepower in their lineup to go toe-to-toe with the Bomba Squad.
With both teams in prime position to head to the postseason, one has to wonder if this three-game set could be a potential World Series preview if things fall in their direction come October. For now, the Twins will look to continue their great stretch of play and build momentum heading into a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians next weekend.
About the Twins
After a hiccup in the middle of July, the Twins have rebounded winning eight of their last 10 games after dropping two of three games to the New York Yankees. In recent series against the Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins and Kansas City Royals, the Twins have gone 8-2, but haven’t been able to put much ground between themselves and second-place Cleveland.
While the Twins have had good news on the field, they continue to have a steady march to the injured list off of it. Byron Buxton, Michael Pineda, and Sam Dyson all went on the shelf this past weekend, but with the return of C.J. Cron, the Twins feel like they can continue to outslug their opponents if that is what needs to be done.
About the Braves
It wasn’t long ago that many baseball people were salivating over what the Braves had in their minor league system. With that talent heading to the major leagues over the past couple years, the Braves have made their move in the NL East and have put some distance between themselves and the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals with a seven-game lead.
Ronald Acuña Jr. has been leading the way for the Braves as the outfielder is having an MVP-worthy campaign hitting .288 with 26 HR, 68 RBI and 25 stolen bases while Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley and others have made Atlanta a tough team to beat. The Braves are coming off a four-game split with the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, but that should make them hungrier heading into this three-game set.
Monday 7:10 p.m.: Mike Soroka (10-2, 2.37 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (12-5, 3.73 ERA)
Tuesday 7:10 p.m.: Max Fried (12-4, 4.07 ERA) vs. Jose Berrios (10-5, 2.80 ERA)
Wednesday 12:10 p.m.: Kevin Gausman (3-7, 6.19 ERA) vs. Martin Perez (8-4, 4.58 ERA)
If Monday’s matchup were held a couple of weeks earlier, this could have been a matchup of potential Cy Young Award candidates. Instead, the Twins will be hoping that Odorizzi can go toe-to-toe with the Braves’ 22-year old ace as he comes off a solid start going 5 2/3 innings allowing one run against the Marlins last week.
Tuesday’s matchup will also be an interesting one to watch as Berrios looks to continue the dominant form he displayed against the Marlins. The Twins’ ace threw seven shutout innings against Miami while striking out a season-high 11 batters. With a lineup capable of scoring runs in bunches, it will be critical for Berrios to be on his game.
Last but not least, the Twins will hope that Perez won’t turn Wednesday’s game into a slugfest. That’s because Perez has had issues keeping the ball in the park lately, allowing eight home runs in his last four starts. With the Twins also having their bullpen take the brunt of these short starts, Perez will need to do better than the five runs he surrendered in five innings against the Royals last Friday night.