Who had the Minnesota Twins being one of the best teams in baseball coming into the season? Of those of you, who had Boston missing the playoffs after winning the World Series the year prior? If your hand is still raised, there’s a high chance you’re lying.
Welcome to Major League Baseball in 2019. The Minnesota Twins came into this three-game set at Fenway with an 85-52 record and a 5.5-game lead in the AL Central over the Cleveland Indians. The Red Sox were a respectable 74-63 but 15 games out of the East and slipping further and further out of the Wild Card. This series could cement one team’s playoff momentum or potentially kill another’s.
Berrios’ Tough August
Jose Berrios is getting the ball for game two in Boston, and it’ll be his first start since the end of his dreadful August. At the end of July, Berrios was on fire. He was 10-5 with an earned run average of 2.80. With a good month of August, he could have potentially launched himself into the top couple of AL Cy Young candidates. That definitely is not what happened, unfortunately.
He gave up 23 runs in 27 innings, good for a 7.57 ERA. He took the loss on record only twice, but the Twins lost three of his five starts. Some of that, however, came down to luck. His BABIP in August was an absurd .407, almost a hundred points higher than any other month. Looking at his xFIP, however, it would seem as if Berrios is doing just fine and there is no cause for concern.
His xFIP on the season is 4.40, whereas it was only 4.89 in August. Which means if his abnormally high home run numbers from August go down to his average, or even the league average, he is going to be fine.
This Ball Is Going To Fly
These are two of the best home run-hitting teams in the entire league. The Minnesota Twins destroyed the single-season MLB record before the end of August. The Red Sox are no slouches themselves, coming into this series sixth in baseball with 216.
For the Twins, Nelson Cruz is an ageless wonder. He very well could go over 40 homers and 100 runs batted in again despite being 39 years old. J.D. Martinez continues to be one of the best long-ball hitters in the league, hitting a whopping 12 in August.
While both Berrios and Eduardo Rodriguez don’t give up a ton of home runs, there are just too many good hitters in this game in Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Mitch Garver, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, etc.
Sportsbook has this game at an over/under of 11 runs, with Boston being -1.5 runs and -130 moneyline. Tuesday’s game scored exactly 11 runs and had much worse pitching. Granted 11 relief pitchers combined were used, with the expanded rosters, that should not be a problem. Give me the Twins AND the runs? All. Day.