The Washington Nationals got a quick response against the Minnesota Twins last night at Target Field. Having lost the opener by a score of 5-0, the Nationals fired back with a 6-2 win last night. Stephen Strasburg carried the Nationals with a strong showing across six innings of work.
He allowed 2 earned runs, while the bullpen took care of the rest. Ryan Zimmerman was the big winner of the night offensively, as he went 4-for-3 with 3 RBI’s. There is no way they are going to catch the Braves in the NL East, but hosting the Wild Card Game in the National League is not out of the equation.
The Wild Card Game in Washington is the most likely scenario. They’re going into Thursday with a 3-game lead on the Cubs for homefield and 3.5 up on the Brewers. The Brewers continue to reel in the Cubs after recording a 7-5 win over the Marlins last night.
No Yelich? No problem said Mike Moustakas. Playing a larger role now, Moustakas sent a 2-run shot over the fence to take a 7-5 lead in the top of the 9th inning. Meanwhile, over in San Diego the Cubs had a lifeless performance against the Padres.
If the Nationals stay the course, they won’t have to worry about the Cubs or Brewers. However, the Nationals haven’t been playing their best baseball recently. They’re 2-6 in their last eight games, so last night was a much-needed win for the Nats.
Strasburg was able to get them out of the funk they were in and now it’s up to Patrick Corbin to sustain it. We’ll likely see Scherzer get the call in a Wild Card Game, but Corbin and Strasburg are viable options as well. It’s a good problem to have if you’re the Nationals. The Twins still own a 4-game lead over the Indians. Corbin gets the call against Kyle Gibson tonight. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Twins pick.
Washington Nationals vs. Minnesota Twins Pick:
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Patrick Corbin has been a steady rock for the Washington Nationals in 2019. The contract he signed with the Nationals turned some heads, but it has paid off for the Nationals. If he reupped with the Diamondbacks, we might be talking about them going to the postseason. Corbin has been right on pace with his production from last season. It hasn’t been any different, as he posted a 3.15 ERA last season and goes into Thursday with a 3.16 ERA in 2019.
He’s been coasting through lineups recently as well. Corbin hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in a start since August 4th. Since then he’s allowed 2 or less runs in five of six outings. That 5-run performance against the Diamondbacks in the desert was an outlier for Corbin. Note that in 14 of his last 15 starts, he’s allowed 3 or less runs. In 13 out of those 15 games, Corbin has allowed 2 or fewer runs, so he was able to get right back on track after faltering in Arizona. Great pitchers have the ability to do that.
Corbin has been solid against the Twins in 31 at-bats. They’re hitting .226 with 1 home run. The offense is hoping that Kyle Gibson can provide a lift on the mound for the Twins. He has been anything but sharp recently, as he enters with a 6.88 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in his previous three outings. He’s allowed at least 4 runs in four out of his five starts in 2019.
The Nats have done well against Gibson as well, hitting him for a .314 batting average and .344 OBP in 86 at-bats. Yan Gomes has been a terror against Gibson, with 2 long balls and a .433 average in 30 plate appearances. Also note that Gibson has been unfavorable at home in 2019, as he’s posted an ERA of 4.76 in 81.1 innings. This is likely going to be an entertaining affair between the Nationals and Twins. Ultimately, the Nationals appear to be the play, though.