Reds vs Twins

Reds vs Twins – 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on September 24, 2020

One of the most important series of the final weekend of the MLB regular season is Cincinnati at Minnesota. The Twins are in the playoffs but battling for the AL Central title, while the Reds need wins much more as they are in a dogfight for one of the final two NL Wild-Card spots. Here’s a look at Friday’s opener.

How to Bet Reds at Twins MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 8:10 PM ET
  • Where: Target Field
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Tyler Mahle/Jose Berrios
  • TV: MLB Extra Innings
  • Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
  • Opening MLB Lines: TBA

Why Bet on Cincinnati? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Reds are 12-12 all-time vs. the Twins, including 2-7 in three series at the Metrodome and 2-1 in their only series at Target Field (4/27-4/29, 2018). That series win in April 2018 snapped a streak in which the Reds had lost 9 consecutive interleague road series of at least 3 games, dating back to September 2013. Cincinnati’s 15-9 win on 4/27/2018 was their inaugural game at Target Field and their first victory in Minneapolis since the finale of the 3-game series there in June 1999. At the time, Target Field was the only existing stadium at which Cincinnati had not played.

Cincinnati is 165-227 all-time vs the AL, at .421 the lowest interleague winning percentage of any Major League team and including 8-9 this season. The Reds haven’t produced a winning record vs the American League since 2013 (11-9). In seven seasons since then they are 50-87 vs. the AL (.365).

The Reds were a chic pick to win the NL Central entering this season and have disappointed overall but are starting to play to expectations and could be seriously dangerous in the postseason if they get there. It would be helpful if center fielder Nick Senzel got going. He is 1-for-18 since returning from the injured list on September 14. Senzel had a solid .244/.327/.489 line before an undisclosed problem knocked him out for the month, but he’s down to .190/.257/.381 for the year.

Senzel, a former No. 2 overall pick, has all the talent necessary to be an All-Star at the big-league level, but his inability to stay on the field has weakened his case to be in the starting lineup.

Reds left-hander Wade Miley, on the IL with a shoulder strain since Aug. 28, is “pretty close to 100 percent,” according to manager David Bell. The playoff-contending Reds are likely to use Miley out of the bullpen if he is able to return this year. Signed to a two-year, $15 million contract last winter, Miley has made four starts and thrown 12 1/3 innings of 6.57 ERA.

It will be Tyler Mahle (2-2) on the mound. Mahle allowed one run over 5 2/3 frames with eight strikeouts to help the Reds to a 7-1 win over the White Sox last Friday. Mahle allowed just four hits, and he walked two. The only run came on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning with the Reds ahead 6-0. The 25-year-old has thrown the ball well for Cincinnati in 2020, and allowed no more than three runs in any of his appearances this year. He now owns an ERA of 3.97 with a BB/K mark of 56/19 in 45 1/3 innings.

Why Bet on Minnesota? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Twins bench coach Mike Bell is the brother of Reds manager David Bell. Mike Bell made all 19 of his MLB appearances in 2000 for the Reds. The Twins are in the playoffs, it’s just a matter of what seed they are. If they and the White Sox tie for the AL Central title, the White Sox win the tiebreaker because of a better record in the division.

Minnesota got a bit of bad news earlier this week when second baseman Luis Arraez rolled his left ankle in a rundown at the Twins’ alternate training site. Arraez had been nearing a return to the Twins’ active roster, but this ankle issue figures to keep him sidelined through the end of the regular season. He was placed on the IL on September 11 with left knee tendinitis.

The 23-year-old Arraez hasn’t come close to last year’s excellent .334/.399/.439 output at the plate, but his .288/.336/.337 slash through 113 plate appearances this year is solid. He’s also still one of the hardest people in MLB to strike out, having fanned in just 9.7 percent of his plate appearances. The 40-man postseason roster includes Arraez and righthander Jake Odorizzi, who is also on the injured list.

Outfielder Byron Buxton has 13 home runs this season and they’ve averaged 409 feet, tied with Freddie Freeman and Kyle Schwarber for 16th longest among the 56 players with at least 10 homers.

It’s ace Jose Berrios (5-3) on the mound here. Berrios fired six scoreless innings as the Twins shut out the Cubs 4-0 last Sunday night. Berrios scattered four hits — one double, three singles — while striking out four batters and issuing only one walk. The 26-year-old right-hander boasts a 2.14 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings over his last six starts.

“I turned the page,” said Berríos, who owned a 5.92 ERA on Aug. 15. “I just said, ‘It’s September. New month, new opportunity.’ Obviously, I know I have great ability and great talent. The only thing is I have to execute better. That’s what I did. I made my adjustment and also took the motivation from my teammates and all the Twins’ staff because we have a great group and a lot of good talent.”

Expert PredictionTwins 5, Reds 3
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