Minnesota (74-67) at Kansas City (69-71)
When: Saturday, September 9th 2017
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Time: 7:15 ET | TV: FSN North
Opening Odds: Minnesota -125/9
The Minnesota Twins will try and pad their lead in the AL Wild Card race when they play the third of a four-game set with the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night. Minnesota won the first two games of the series and three straight games overall to gain a two-game edge over the Los Angeles Angels with 21 games to play. Center fielder Eddie Rosario homered and drove in four runs in Friday’s 8-5 victory and has 10 homers and 28 RBIs over his past 32 games. Third baseman Eduardo Escobar is also hot after homering during his third three-hit game over the past seven, improving to 11-for-29 with four homers and 12 RBIs during the stretch. Kansas City, who got back into the hunt with a terrific stretch during the midseason, is fading with 10 losses in its last 15 games and sits 4.5 games behind the Twins. These next two games are almost ‘must wins’ for Kansas City. Second baseman Whit Merrifield has recorded three straight multi-hit games and is 11-for-25 with six RBIs during his six-game hitting streak for the Royals. Third baseman Mike Moustakas (knee) is expected to miss his second consecutive start.
Pitchers: Twins – Jose Berrios (12-7, 4.01 ERA) | Royals – Jake Junis (7-2, 4.48)
Jose Berrios lost his latest outing to Tampa Bay on Monday when he gave up five runs and seven hits over five innings. He has not been very good on the road this season, going 4-6 with a 5.43 ERA in 12 starts as opposed to 8-1, 2.56 in nine home outings. Berrios received a no-decision against the Royals when he surrendered three homers in five innings while allowing five runs and nine hits on July 1st and is 0-1 with an 8.20 ERA in four career starts against Kansas City.
Jake Junis has won five consecutive decisions including a relief win at Detroit on July 24th, but was also roughed-up in a relief outing against Cleveland on August 18th. Junis is 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA with 18 strikeouts against just one walk in 16 innings over his last three outings. He received a no-decision when he made his first major-league start against the Twins on May 21st when he gave up two runs and five hits over 4.2 innings.
It’s hard to ignore Berrios’ numbers away from home and the Royals have hit him hard this year. I think the Twins eventually get the second wild card spot, but tonight will belong to the Royals.
Pick: Royals +110
Check back later for trends…