Notebook 9/27: One More Big Game Before the Playoffs
Reds @ Twins: 2:10 CT
Twins Starter: Rich Hill, RHP 3.27 ERA
Rich Hill will potentially make his final start in a Twins uniform today. He has been pretty much exactly what the Twins were hoping, and they will be asking for one more solid start to close out the season. In seven starts this year, Hill has pitched 33.0 innings with a 3.27 ERA and 27 strikeouts. The 40 year old has certainly seen age catch up to him but the Twins need just one more good start.
His last outing was the best one of his season as he went seven outstanding innings and gave up just one run. It was his first time this season going past five innings and he didn’t seem to struggle. He still took the loss, but that doesn’t matter. Hill has made three inter-league starts this season against the Cardinals, Cubs, and Brewers.
Reds Starter: Sonny Gray, RHP 3.73 ERA
If you haven’t seen Gray pitch for the Reds yet, you’re in for a treat. This isn’t the same guy from Oakland or the one who couldn't pitch for the Yankees. Since going to Cincinnati, Gray has become one of the best starters in the game. His K/9 is over 12.0 and his FIP is sitting at 2.95 this season. He will allow his fair share of walks, so expect the Twins to be patient.
Gray has made two inter-league starts this season, but they were two of his first three outings this year. He has not faced an American League team since, but with the universal DH there is no longer a big difference. Still, traveling into a completely new area to play a game can be challenging so hopefully the Twins can score early and often.
News & Notes:
-The final game of the season is also the most important one so that’s fun. If the Twins win, they win the division. If the White Sox lose, the Twins win. If both win or lose, the Twins win. The only way to lose the division is if the Twins lose and Sox win.
-The Twins could still play five different opponents in the postseason depending on how today’s game shakes out. It’s extremely complicated but the Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays, Indians, and White Sox are all possible.
Here's a handy flow chart from MLB.com's Do-Hyoung Park:
-With the win last night, Minnesota clinched home field advantage for the first round. This means all of the necessary wild card games will be played at Target Field before everyone moves into a bubble.
AROUND THE AL CENTRAL
1. MIN 36-23 (-)
2. CWS 35-24 (1.0 GB)
3. CLE 34-25 (2.0 GB
4. KCR 25-34 (11.0 GB)
5. KCR 23-34 (12.0 GB)
Tigers 4, Royals 3
Pirates 8, Indians 0
White Sox 9, Cubs 5
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