Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red Sox Pick 9/4/19
Minnesota Twins (86-52) vs. Boston Red Sox (74-64)
When: 7 p.m., Wednesday, September 4
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
Moneyline: MIN + 125/BOS -135 (BetNow)
Runline: Twins +1.5/Red Sox -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Jose Berrios (11-7, 3.57 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (16-5, 3.97 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)
You can only beat the teams that are on your schedule, and almost nobody has done that better than Minnesota. The Twins have been gifted a division of three actively tanking teams in the Tigers, White Sox, and Royals, and they’ve parlayed those 57 matchups into a shot at the AL Central title, as evidenced by the current streak they’re on. Minnesota has won nine of its past 10 — and eight of those wins came at the expense of Chicago and Detroit. The problem for the Twins’ opponents is that when you gain confidence from beating bad teams, it snowballs into the ability to beat good teams, which Minnesota did in opening this series with Boston with a win.
That momentum is critical for the Twins because they’ve entered the most important two weeks of their season. Six games with Cleveland follow this series, and if Minnesota can get through them unscathed, the Twins will have the Central all but locked up. In other words, the pressure is on for the Twins right now to take these games from Boston and really ramp up the pressure on the Indians heading into their weekend series.
The fact that Jose Berrios still ranks in the top 10 in the AL in ERA speaks to how good he was in the first four months of the season or how good the hitters are in the American League. Either way, Berrios was not the same pitcher in August that he had been all season to that point. He’s given up at least three runs in each of his past five starts, punctuated by an ugly outing where he gave up nine runs at home to Atlanta. In his past five starts, his control has been a problem. Not only has he walked 12 batters in his previous five outings, but he’s also given up six home runs in the process. The Twins need him to get back to what they know he can produce in what little time remains in the season.
While the Twins have themselves set up well for a run at the postseason, the Red Sox are running out of time. Boston has to somehow make up five games on Cleveland and Oakland just to get into the postseason, and the Red Sox have shown none of the desperation that the situation requires. Making matters worse is the fact that tickets can be had for as little as $4 for this game, a sign that even the Boston faithful think that time has run out on the Red Sox in 2019.
That said, they’ve got the right guy on the mound to try to get things going in the right direction. Rodriguez seemed to have hit a wall in losses to Cleveland and New York, but his past three starts show that he’s returned to form. In his previous 19 innings, he’s only surrendered three runs, and they all came in Colorado, which is more than forgivable.
The Red Sox took two of three from the Twins in Minnesota earlier this year, but the Twins’ win in the series opener in Boston evened the series for the year. The last time Minnesota won the season series from Boston came in 2015 when the Twins went 5-2 against the Sox.
- The Twins have won eight of their past nine.
- The Twins have lost Berrios’ past six starts against a team above .500.
- The Red Sox have won Rodriguez’s past 11 Wednesday starts.
- The Red Sox are 20-7 in their past 27 against the AL Central.
- The under is 5-1 in the Red Sox’s past six home games.
- The under is 5-1 in the teams’ past six meetings in Boston.
The temperature is supposed to be at 75 degrees at first pitch, but intense storms in the area could delay this game.
Boston has the better pitching situation here. Berrios isn’t the same pitcher he was in the first half of the season and Rodriguez has regained his form. I do think the Red Sox are out of time to try to catch the three teams above them for the wild card, but as long as they haven’t given up on the season entirely, they’re in the better spot here, and I like them to claim a home win at a relatively low price. Go with the Red Sox here.