Wednesday is the middle game of a three-game set between the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox from storied Fenway Park. Both teams are currently in the playoff race but at very different positions. The Twins are in control of the AL Central by 6.5 games and don’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are still in contention but are barely hanging on. The AL East is chalked, as the Yankees hold a 9.5 game lead over the second-place Rays, and 16 games over the Red Sox. At this point in the season, every game is a must-win for Boston. They’re 5.5 games out of the last Wild Card position, and one of Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Oakland aren’t going to make it either.
For the Twins, young star Jose Berrios will take the mound for his 28th start of the year. The 25-year-old is having his third straight spectacular season. In 2019, he reached the double-digit win mark for the third straight year, currently with an 11-7 record.
He is also on track to have his third straight season of an earned run average under 4, sitting at 3.57. Berrios has had a rough go of it lately, with only one win since the end of July. He gave up 23 runs in five starts in August, and the Twins only won two of those five games.
For the Red Sox, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez will make his 29th start of the season. E-Rod is once again having another underrated season. While his 2018 season was injury-ridden and only saw him pitch 129 innings, he won 13 games.
In 2019, he has stayed healthy enough to see him throw the most innings he ever has in his career. In return, he’s turned in a great season. He’s 16-5 with a sub-4 ERA. Rodriguez has really turned it on since the second half of the season has begun. Granted he had a rough beginning of the season, but his ERA in the second half is still almost two runs lower.
If we disregard his last start, as it was in Coors Field, he’s been pitching terrific lately. He had back-to-back seven-inning shutouts against the Padres and Orioles in mid-August. Even with giving up three runs in five innings in Colorado last time out, he’s on a three-game winning streak. With Chris Sale out, Rodriguez has turned into Boston’s ace.
Batters To Watch
At 39 years old, Nelson Cruz is having one of the best seasons of his career. His batting average, at .311, is the best it has been in nine years. He also has a very real chance to hit 40 home runs and 100 RBI for the fourth time in his career, as he currently has 34 and 91.
J.D. Martinez is coming off a monstrous month of August. He hit nearly .400 with 10 home runs and 29 runs batted in. Boston would love to see him continue that.
This game seems like one that Rodriguez could dominate if he keeps the ball in the park. However, Berrios is nasty, and I’m not sold that the Twins offense can be kept dormant for a full nine innings. Take the Twins.
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