When and where: September 11, 2019, Target Field, Minneapolis, MN, 7:40 PM ET
An explosive interleague meeting between the Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins takes center stage in Wednesday night’s MLB action. The slumping Nationals could use a turnaround performance after losing five of their last seven games. Meanwhile, the Twins are fighting to maintain their lead in the AL Central division after dropping a three-game meeting to the Cleveland Indians. A pitching duel between Washington’s Stephen Strasburg and Minnesota’s Martin Perez will be featured in Wednesday’s meeting of the ensuing series.
Slump resumes for the Nationals
After scoring nine runs on the Atlanta Braves and putting an end to a four-game losing streak, it seemed like all was well for the Nationals. Their offense seemed to regain the spark we’ve seen for most of the season, and there was hope it could be sustained on the road against the Twins.
However, that hope was trampled on at Target Field on Tuesday in a 5-0 shutout loss. Suddenly, the storyline has shifted back to the offensive struggles potentially putting the Nationals’ wild card spot in jeopardy. The Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks are too far behind in the race.
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Things won’t get any easier for the Nationals with back-to-back series meetings with the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals next on the itinerary. The wild card race in the National League is still wide open right now.
Strasburg would love to add a little separation when he steps on the mound on Wednesday against the Twins. The three-time MLB All-Star pitcher will enter the game throwing a 3.50 ERA with a 16-6 record on the season. However, he is coming off a loss to the Braves in a game where he allowed four hits and three runs in six innings. That performance was preceded by a shutout victory over the Miami Marlins in an eight-inning effort.
Twins not taking any chances
The Twins know they could be in for a fight to the finish line for the AL Central crown with the persistent Indians. After losing to them over the weekend, the Twins can’t afford any slip-ups against the Nationals, especially with another three-game meeting with the Tribe next up on the itinerary.
This time, they will have to travel to Progressive Field.
The Indians have quietly worked their way back into contention, despite the Twins maintaining a stranglehold on the division for most of the season. There was clearly a sense of urgency shown on Tuesday as the Twins blasted the Nationals in a shutout victory, improving their record to 89-55 on the season. Their rotation will be a tough match-up for the Nationals at the plate throughout this series.
Perez hopes to add to the Nationals’ problems when he toes the rubber as the starting pitcher on Wednesday. The 28-year-old lefty has won two of his last three games with his most recent victory coming over the Boston Red Sox, who he held to two hits and one earned run in six innings. It was a huge bounce-back performance after he gave up eight earned runs to the Detroit Tigers. He is throwing a 4.75 ERA with a 10-6 record on the season.
- Nationals are 1-4 in their last 5 games on grass.
- Nationals are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Nationals are 1-6 in their last 7 interleague games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Nationals are 0-4 in their last 4 interleague games vs. a team with a winning record.
- Twins are 5-1 in their last 6 interleague home games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Twins are 9-2 in their last 11 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Twins are 11-4 in their last 15 overall.
- Twins are 11-4 in their last 15 games on grass.