Game time: 7:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Target Field, Minneapolis, MN
Where to watch: Bally Sports Wisconsin, Bally Sports North
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Brewers -150, Twins +130
Season record (entering Friday)
Brewers: 78-50 (1st place, NL Central)
Twins: 55-72 (Last place, AL Central)
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Brewers - Twins preview and analysis
Brewers: 7-3 in last 10
Twins: 4-6 in last 10
Good on the Milwaukee Brewers for at least accomplishing a series win against the Cincinnati Reds.
Sure, they probably would’ve loved the sweep, but the Brewers gained at least one game on the Reds for first place in the National League Central, and that’s really all that matters at this point.
Now the Brewers hit the road for a seven-game trip starting Friday against the Minnesota Twins at Target Center. Game 2 of this three-game set is Saturday, in which the Brewers will try to increase their NL Central lead on the sizzling Reds.
Milwaukee enters Friday with an 8.5-game lead on the Reds, who currently hold the second wild card spot after seemingly being out of the race a month ago. Milwaukee has held firm and kept a sizable gap on the Reds, and barring an unforeseen collapse, will ride into the playoffs with the second-best record in the National League.
But the Brewers did have a struggle of a day on Thursday in their 5-1 loss to said Reds. Milwaukee was kept in check by Sonny Gray, getting only three hits off the veteran and not scoring until the seventh inning.
Milwaukee starter Brett Anderson lasted only four innings and giving up thee earned runs in his eighth loss of the season.
Avisail Garcia continued his great season by going 2-for-4, bumping his average to .278 on the season. Christian Yelich continues to make an impact since his return, going 1-for-3.
Adrian Houser is expected to take the mound on Saturday for the Brewers. You cannot find a better No. 4 out of this stacked rotation than Houser; he’s 7-5 with a 3.44 ERA. He hasn’t won in three starts, but is coming off only lasting 3.1 innings and three-hit ball against the Washington Nationals. He’ll be well-rested going into this start, and will follow Eric Lauer from Friday.
The Twins don’t have much to play for either in this matchup, but Minnesota has proven capable of playing spoiler during this playoff push. Minnesota is coming off a series loss to the Boston Red Sox, capped by a 12-2 loss on Thursday thanks to seven RBI from Bobby Dalbec.
Outside a rough day for the Twins, they did win 9-6 on Wednesday. Josh Donaldson and Jake Cave delivered with homers in the 10th inning to win, only for Donaldson to follow that with an 0-for-2 day Thursday. Minnesota had two runs on three hits, thanks to a two-run home run from Willians Astudillo.
The Twins have lost five of six entering Friday since winning consecutive series against the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians. That alone should give pause for these top teams trying to establish playoff positioning that nothing is safe. Especially in front of a home crowd.
Charlie Barnes is expected to take the mound Saturday following Andrew Albers’ go-round in this August start. Barnes is 0-3 with a 6.56 ERA and a WHIP of 1.63.
It’s safe to consider the pitching matchup in this one. Even if the Brewers falter Friday coming off a night of travel, they should be ready to tee off on Barnes Saturday. Brewers win 7-3.
The Brewers are 33-21 (+5.9 games on the money line) when they’re favored between -100 and -150
Milwaukee is 41-18 (+21.3 net games) in its last 59 Saturday contests.
The over is 39-15 this season when the Twins are favored by at least +100
Brewers: SS Willy Adames (quad, questionable), SP Freddy Peralta (shoulder, 10-day IL)
Twins: CF Byron Buxton (left hand, 10-day IL), C Mitch Garver (back, day-to-day), SP Kenta Maeda (UCL, 10-day IL)
Players to watch
Brewers: Christian Yelich is slowly peaking at the right time for the Brewers. The former MVP has batted .302 this month and has upped his season average by 18 points since returning Aug. 7. Yelich has only two homers, but one of them was a grand slam Aug. 21 against the Nationals.
Twins: Jorge Polanco has driven the Twins’ offense this season, leading in almost every category. Polanco enters Friday on a three-game hit streak and seven of the last eight, including homers in three straight entering Friday.
Kolten Wong (L) 2B
Omar Narvaez (L) C
Christian Yelich (L) LF
Avisail Garcia (R) DH
Rowdy Tellez (L) 1B
Luis Urias (R) SS
Pablo Reyes (R) 3B
Jace Peterson (L) RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. (L) CF
Rob Refsnyder (R) RF
Brent Rooker (R) LF
Josh Donaldson (R) DH
Miguel Sano (R) 1B
Luis Arraez (L) 2B
Ryan Jeffers (R) C
Willians Astudillo (R) 3B
Nick Gordon (L) CF
Andrelton Simmons (R) SS
Batting average: Avisail Garcia (.278)
Hits: Avisail Garcia (108)
Home runs: Avisail Garcia (24)
RBI: Avisail Garcia (76)
Stolen bases: Kolten Wong & Lorenzo Cain (9)
Wins: Brent Suter (12)
Saves: Josh Hader (27)
ERA: Corbin Burnes (2.30)
Batting average: Jorge Polanco (.274)
Hits: Jorge Polanco (125)
Home runs: Jorge Polanco (24)
RBI: Jorge Polanco (76)
Stolen bases: Jorge Polanco (10)
Wins: Kenta Maeda (6)
Saves: Hansel Robles (10)
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