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Game 144: Nationals at Twins

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At the end of the night, the Twins will have either a perfect record or terrible record against the Nats at Target Field.

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First Pitch: 6:40p Central (it’s a school night)
Television: FOX Sports North; fubo.tv (subscription)
Radio (English): WCCO 830 AM, Treasure Island Baseball Network
Radio (Spanish): twinsbeisbol.com
Know Thine Enemy: Federal Baseball

The Washington Nationals have been to Minnesota once since they moved from Montréal down to the nation’s capital. Back in 2007, the Nats came to visit the Minnesota Twins at the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome and won two out of three games that series. Former Twin Cristian Guzman, playing three of this 46 games in an injury-plagued season, as well as All-Star Dmitri Young combined to hit 15-28 with six runs, four RBI, and three doubles off the likes of Johan Santana, Boof Bonser, and Carlos Silva. Jason Bartlett and Torii Hunter would likely be in the “STUDS” section of a game recap of the lone Twins win that series. Washington had never been over .500 that season and finished 16.0 games back in the National League East while Minnesota floated around .500 most of the season and finished 17.0 games back from the Cleveland Spiders for the American League Central.

Fast-forward twelve years and the Nationals are returning to Minnesota in a different venue during a different season with plenty of different faces - including former Minnesota players Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki - and no Bryce Harper. Is there a secret “getting the band back together” party going on? Probably not. The Twins lead the Spiders by five games going into tonight’s contest and will have been over .500 the whole season. The Nationals are 9.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves and hold the top spot of the NL Wild Card race, staying above .500 since the end of June.

Old nemesis Anibal Sanchez gets the call from Washington tonight. In his age-35 season, he’s posted a great 4.11 ERA (4.54 FIP) in 26 starts and 140 innings. His 7.6 K/9 is down a bit from the past years of an 8.9 K/9 rate and he’s also walking batters at a 3.5 BB/9 clip - the highest he’s allowed per nine in a season that he’s pitched in more than 20 games. Sánchez’s last outing was against the New York Mets, going five innings and allowing eight hits, seven earned runs, three walks, two strikeouts, and three (!!!) homers.

The Twins will counter with Jose Berrios on the mound. The second half of the season hasn’t been too kind to La Makina: 5.37 ERA in 57.0 IP and batters hitting .286/.352/.455 off of him. He’s allowed nine homers in those ten starts as well. Last time out, he faced the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park and went five innings and allowing eight hits, six earned runs, three walks, six strikeouts, and two homers. GET BACK ON TRACK, BERRIOS!!!! please

Mitch Garver (29 HRs), Eddie Rosario (28), and Miguel Sano (27) are close to joining the 30+ Home Run Club. If/when at least two of them make it to that level, the Twins will have the most players with 30 or more home runs in one season in franchise history. So, uh, hit some bombas.

Today's Lineups

EXPOS SENATORS
Trea Turner - SS Luis Arraez - LF
Adam Eaton - RF Jorge Polanco - SS
Anthony Rendon - 3B Nelson Cruz - DH
Juan Soto - LF Eddie Rosario - RF
Howie Kendrick - DH Mitch Garver - C
Asdrubal Cabrera - 2B Ehire Adrianza - 3B
Ryan Zimmerman - 1B Willians Astudillo - 1B
Yan Gomes - C LaMonte Wade - CF
Victor Robles - CF Jonathan Schoop - 2B

GO TWIMS GO