The Cincinnati Reds (35-35, 19-19 away) and Minnesota Twins (30-41, 14-21 home) begin a two-game interleague series on Monday night in Minneapolis, MN. Monday’s first pitch inside Target Field is set for 8:10 p.m. EST.
This will be the first matchup between the two opponents this season. According to oddsmakers, Cincinnati has the edge in the opener as the head-to-head favorite. The run total is at 9.5.
Cincinnati Attempts to End Skid
Cincinnati heads to Minnesota after suffering a four-game sweep out West against the San Diego Padres. The sweep broke a six-game winning streak for the Reds. Cincinnati sits in third place in the National League Central standings, four games back of the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs.
Tyler Mahle (7-2, 3.39 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) looks to extend his five-game winning streak on the mound. The 26-year old right-hander is piecing together a fantastic season, surrendering 28 runs over 74.1 innings in 14 starts. Mahle racked up a season-high 12 strikeouts over 6.0 inning while allowing one earned run in his last start.
The Reds’ offense is sixth in the majors, with a .238 team batting average 4.9 runs per game. The outfield duo of Nick Castellanos (.344 avg.) and Jesse Winker (.341 avg.) are one and two in the MLB in batting average. The two sluggers have combined for 30 home runs, 80 runs driven in, and 97 runs scored to pace one of the best offensive units in baseball.
Twins Try to Add to Rally
The Twins roll into Monday riding a four-game winning streak after a three-game sweep on the road against Texas Rangers over the weekend. The winning streak matches Minnesota’s longest of the season. Minnesota has fallen to fourth in American League Central, 12.5 games back of the leader.
Lefty J.A. Happ (3-3, 6.12 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) takes the bump for the Twins om hopes of bouncing back after a subpar outing. Happ scattered nine hits and gave up five earned runs in just four innings of work in his last start. After a stellar first month on the mound, the 38-year old veteran has an 8.73 ERA over his previous 11 starts.
Offensively, the Twins are also one of the better hitting teams in the MLB with a .242 batting average. Outfielder Byron Buxton returned to the Twins lineup over the weekend after an extended stay on the injured list. Buxton, who’s landed on the injured list twice this year, has been a problem for opponents at the plate, hitting .366 with ten home runs.
Reds End Streak on Monday
The Reds haven’t won since Mahle’s last start, but expect the Reds to bounce back Monday night with Mahle on the mound. Cincinnati’s batting average is almost 30 points worse against lefties, but Happ has struggled in recent starts.
Even after a long trip from Southern California on Sunday, the Reds take game one against the Twins. Both offenses will plate a handful of runs, but Cincinnati wins it, 6-4.
Prediction: Cincinnati Reds ML