Atlanta Braves at Minnesota Twins Pick 8/6/19
Atlanta Braves (66-48) at Minnesota Twins (70-42)
When: 8 p.m., Tuesday, August 6
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis
Moneyline: ATL +140/MIN -150 (BetNow)
Runline: Braves +1.5/Twins -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Mike Foltynewicz (2-5, 6.37 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) vs. Jose Berrios (10-5, 2.80 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)
These Are The Twins…Under Pressure
And they’re handling it quite well. OK, beating Kansas City, the White Sox and Miami isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a big challenge, but those are the type of games that are very easy for a young ballclub like the Twins to lose when it’s playing at a level nobody expected at the start of the season. Minnesota is holding up well against the hard-charging Cleveland Indians, and getting those three series victories were precisely what the Twins needed after struggling against Oakland, the Mets, and the Yankees.
Minnesota could still fade as the season finishes, but for the moment, the young Twins are getting the job done when it counts the most, and nothing symbolized that better than the way they beat the Braves on Monday, getting a two-run blast in the ninth inning to walk off with a big victory.
Run Support Really Helps
Foltynewicz makes his first start since June 22, which was a win over the Nationals in the nation’s capital. But that’s a little deceptive because the Braves got the win because they provided Foltynewicz with 13 runs of support, and it still came close to not being enough when Washington touched him for eight runs in four innings.
Atlanta has managed to win its past three with Foltynewicz on the hill, but that only happened because the Braves managed to put up an incredible 35 runs in three games. When run support has come down to more typical levels, Foltynewicz’s chances have dwindled right along with it. For the season, the Braves are 3-0 when Foltynewicz gets at least six runs of support and 1-7 when the team fails to hit that high plateau for him.
Magic Number 7
At the other end of the spectrum, Berrios can only dream of getting the run support that Foltynewicz has had. Over his past ten games, he’s not allowed more than three runs in a game, but Minnesota has finished on the wrong end of the scoreboard in six of those occasions. When Berrios is able to pitch seven complete innings, things have tended to go very well for the Twins, as Minnesota has walked away a winner in all three games. But otherwise, the Twins haven’t provided Berrios with the run support that he needs to get a result, and that’s made things difficult in the season’s second half.
Oddly enough, this will also mark just Berrios’ fourth start at home in the past two months, as he’s done most of his work on the road. It’s just as well, as he doesn’t have a win in Minneapolis since May 24.
Being in different leagues means that the Braves and Twins don’t see each other often. This meeting marks the teams’ first since 2016, and Minnesota’s win on Monday evened up their all-time series at 12 apiece. Of course, Minnesota has the biggest blow between the squads, as the Twins defeated the Braves in seven games to win the 1991 World Series, a year that saw both teams win their division and reach the World Series after finishing dead last in their divisions in 1990.
- The Braves are 4-9 in their past 13 interleague games.
- The Twins have won their past four home games.
- The Braves are 4-11 in their past 15 Tuesday games.
- The Twins have won Berrios’ last six Tuesday starts.
- The over is 4-0 in the Braves’ past four against a starter with a WHIP below 1.15.
- The over is 4-1 in the Twins’ past five against a team with a winning record.
The teams will be fighting the heat in this one, with the mercury set to approach 84 degrees at first pitch.
Atlanta needs to bounce back to keep the Nationals and Phillies at bay, but there is just no way that I can trust Foltynewicz to get the job done in this situation. He’s never thrown a pitch in an American League park, he’s not gotten a win without getting a large amount of run support, and he’s facing a determined opponent that needs this game just as badly as the Braves do, if not more.
Atlanta has mostly gone unchallenged by the NL East, and they’ll likely stay unchallenged for the foreseeable future. Not so for Minnesota, which has had the Indians in hot pursuit since the end of the All-Star break.
In this situation, I always want the team that needs the game more, and with the Twins playing at home and coming off a nice win, that makes this a routine call for Minnesota.
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