Image licensed from USA Today Sports
Milwaukee continues to retain control of the National League Central. The Brewers are 78-49 and have a 9 ½ lead over the Cincinnati Reds in second place. Milwaukee defeated the Reds Wednesday 4-1 for their fourth straight win and eighth in the final 10. The Milwaukee Brewers play Friday without position players Eduardo Escobar, Carl Mathis, Tyrone Taylor and Daniel Vogelbach. Brewers has seven pitches on the injury list.
Minnesota sits in last place in the American League Central 17 games behind the front-runner Chicago White Sox. The Twins are 55-71 after a 9-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. However, Minnesota has lost four of the last five. The twins are looking at next season as younger players experience more action, pitchers are called up from the smaller leagues and players like Nelson Cruz were swapped for young, talented prospects. Minnesota plays Friday without position players Byron Buxton, Kyle Garlick and Alex Kirilloff. Minnesota has 11 pitches on the injury list.
Breweries hold the key to Milwaukee’s success
The biggest reason the Milwaukee Brewers are well out front in the National League Central is the pitching staff. Milwaukee is third on team ERA at 3.36, 5th in WHIP at 1.18, and opposing hitters are averaging just .216 on the plate against Brewers pitching, which is second-best in baseball. Corbin Burnes has the best ERA to begin with at Milwaukee at 2:30 a.m. and has a team’s best 180 strikeouts. Brent Suter is leading in victories with 12. On Friday, Eric Lauer gets the nod on the mound to Milwaukee. This season, the left-hander is 4-4 with a 3.59 ERA and 76 strikeouts.
Milwaukee has struggled on the plate all season with a team-beating average of .234, which is 25th in baseball, and a swallowing percentage slightly better at .401, which is 19. Milwaukee must play without the newly acquired Eduardo Escobar, who is out until the start of September with a hoarding problem. Midfield Avisail Garcia has been Milwaukee’s most prolific hitter all season with 24 home runs and 76 RBIs to lead the Brewers. Third baseman Luis Urias has an excellent season with 22 doubles, 16 home runs and 56 RBIs.
Gemini suffering on the mound
The Minnesota Twins are 27th on team ERA at 4.99, 19th in WHIP at 1.34, and opposing hitters are hesitant at Twins signing up. 0.258, which is 26th in baseball. Leading Minnesota in wins is Kenta Maeda with six, and the right-hander is also the team leader on strike with 106. Veteran left-hander Andrew Albers gets the nod on the mound Friday for Minnesota. The 35-year-old is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA and four strikeouts.
Minnesota has stayed on the plate this season as the Twins are 12th in baseball on team averages of .244, 7th in slugging percentage at .428 and have scored the 12th most runs with 586. Shortstop Jorge Polanco leads Minnesota with a .274 stroke average, 24 home runs, 76 RBIs and 125 hits, which is No. 1 in all four categories. Third baseman Josh Donaldson has 17 doubles, 19 home runs and 54 RBIs.
- Minnesota is 3-13 in the last 16 interleague games against a left-hander
- The twins are 1-4 in the last five overall
- Milwaukee is 38-16 in the last 54
- The Brewers are 40-19 in the last 59 on the road