Game 3 (Thursday 6:10 p.m. CT)
Martin Perez (9-6, 4.89 ERA) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 6.23 ERA)
Martin Perez got destroyed in his last start on Friday against the Tigers, allowing eight runs (seven earned) in just 2 2/3 innings. Perez blamed his poor performance on his cutter moving too much, but his cutter has been an issue seemingly since his season took a nosedive in mid-May.
It appeared that Perez was taking steps in the right direction in his previous three starts, which saw the lefty-allow four earned runs in 17 innings and resulted in three Twins victories. Hopefully, the outing in Detroit was a bump in the road and Perez can get back to the positive direction he was trending.
Meanwhile, Nathan Eovaldi‘s season hasn’t gone in the same fashion that his strong 2018 season and even found himself in the Red Sox bullpen for a stretch. Now returning to the rotation, he still hasn’t been stretched out yet but threw a gem in his last start while striking out eight batters in four innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 30.
Although it’s a small sample size, Max Kepler has seen success against Eovaldi, going 3-for-6 with 2 home runs in his career. If the Twins can get something competent out of Perez, they’ll have a good chance to take the finale against the Red Sox.
The biggest key to this series is going to be how the pitching staff performs. As many fans have received anxiety watching the starting rotation trend downhill in the second half, the trio of Dobnak, Berrios and Perez doesn’t exactly inspire confidence heading into Boston.
But if the Twins can get solid starts out of all three and the lineup can take advantage of any Red Sox mistakes, they should have a chance to take the series at Fenway Park and could effectively bury Boston in the process.