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This week in preview: Twins go to Fenway, host Cleveland

A big weekend series is on the horizon.

I’ve always thought it’d be fun to have a scoreboard job like this.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins continue their road trip after making stops in Chicago and Detroit, sweeping the White Sox and taking the series against the Tigers. After breaking the single-season home run record, the Bomba Squad lands in Boston to take on the Red Sox, then will fly home to take on the second-place Cleveland Indians for the penultimate time this regular season. What should the Twins expect to see this week?

at Red Sox

The Red Sox came to town in mid-June and took two out of three from the Twins. The lone win in that series was a 17-inning marathon that ended in a Max Kepler walk-off single. Boston left town with a 40-35 record and 6.5 games back from the American League East leader. They come into town with a better winning percentage, but now see themselves 15.5 games back from the New York Yankees, third place in the A.L. East, and 5.0 games back from a Wild Card spot. A swing through the west coast ended in a 6-2 trip against the likes of the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, and Los Angeles Angels before having Labor Day off to arrive home in time to take on the Twins.

Boston is probably thankful to see the calendar flip to September. August started with the continuation of what was to be an eight-game losing streak (what’s that??) and the month was their worst month batting-wise altogether. A team .269/.338/.503 includes the lowest batting average and OBP since April, but their home run count last month (48) was a bit more than their July total (45). Their RBI count was the lowest since April as well, totaling only 143 RBIs in all of last month.

On the season, the usual Red Sox suspects are leading the team in batting. Rafael Devers is batting .321/.370/.577 with 28 homers and have eclipsed the 100-RBI mark this season. J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts have both joined the 30-homer club, leading the team with 34 and 31 homers, respectively. Most of the main batters have each hit more than 15 homers on the year.

With Chris Sale out for the rest of the season, it’s left the Boston starting rotation in tatters. The Twins will see 20-year-old Rick Porcello, who’s been driving the struggle bus this year with a 5.42 ERA and 4.82 FIP, a 7.1 K/9 and 10.2 H/9, and a 1.413 WHIP, to start the series. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez will face the Bomba Squad next, and he’s been arguably the Red Sox’s best starter this year with a 3.97 ERA (122 ERA+), but still yielding 1.358 walks and hits every inning. Nathan Eovaldi will cap things off on Thursday night. Spending over half the season on the 60-day IL with elbow issues, Eovaldi has put up a 6.23 ERA in 18 starts, striking out 9.6 per nine innings and allowing 2.1 homers per nine innings.

Brandon Workman has been closing games for Boston, converting 10 out of 16 save opportunities, but posting a 2.20 ERA over 61.1 innings, striking out batters at a 12.8 K/9 clip. Marcus Walden has seen 59 games out of the bullpen, putting up a 3.41 ERA and converting two of five save opportunities. Matt Barnes has also been in a variety of situations, converting four of 11 save opportunities and striking out 15.7 batters per nine innings.

Probable starters:
Tues., Sept. 3, 6:10p Central: Randy Dobnak (0-0, 0.00 ERA) v Rick Porcello (12-10, 5.42)
Wed., Sept. 4, 6:10p Central: Jose Berrios (11-7, 3,57) v Eduardo Rodriguez (16-5, 3.97)
Thurs., Sept. 5, 6:10p Central: Martin Perez (9-6, 4.89) v Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 6.23)

vs Cleveland

The Twins will return home to face Cleveland for a weekend series. The last time these two teams met, they were a game apart for the lead of the A.L. Central and left the series tied. The Twins took the lead of the Central and have not looked back again. Cleveland has gone only 8-11 during that time, dropping a series to the Red Sox, splitting a series with the New York Yankees, getting swept by the New York Mets, winning a series against the Kansas City Royals, sweeping the Tigers, and getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Twins have taken advantage of it, going 14-5 during that time against weaker opponents like the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers.

Cleveland faced a big blow to their lineup when Jose Ramirez hit the Injured List recently with a fractured hamate bone; he was hitting .254/.325/.463 with 20 homers and 75 RBI before his injury. Carlos Carrasco, who was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this season, has returned after rehabbing through the minors and will be working exclusively out of the bullpen. The last two weeks, Cleveland hitters have been swinging at a clip of .234/.306/.420 with 17 homers and 45 RBI.


How many games will the Twins win this week? (Tuesday through Sunday)

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    (100 votes)
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