Series preview: Nationals vs. Twins

The Washington Nationals travel north to take on another American League opponent, the Minnesota Twins. The Nationals will begin a three-game weekend series on Friday as they look to rebound from their embarrassing two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Washington suffered their first sweep of the season against their Beltway rival, albeit in a short two-game series. What’s even worse than getting swept by the Orioles? Not scoring a single run during the whole series—utter embarrassment. The Nationals’ pitching wasn’t the problem this time around. It was the bats that went dead quiet. No one homered on the Nationals’ side, and they had trouble getting runners on base. The losses are more frustrating because pitchers Josiah Gray and MacKenzie Gore had excellent outings. Gray is now 0-4 this season but has a 3.74 ERA. Unacceptable.

Meanwhile, the Twins return home after a seven-game road trip where they went 3-4. Minnesota split a four-game set with the Yankees and won one of three against the Redsoxs. Currently, the Twins are in first place in the AL Central. A big reason why is their elite pitching. As you may notice below, the Twins have few satisfactory hitters.

Currently, the Nationals sit at the bottom of the NL East with a 5-13 record heading into the road trip. The Nationals have lost six of the last seven and continue to struggle, putting together complete games.

Tale of the Tape

Divisional Standings5th1st
All-Time Matchup Record9-99-9
Team Average.250 (14).225 (26)
Runs62 (27)77 (23)
Hits152 (15)136 (27)
Home Runs8 (30)20 (T-14)
K%20.4% (6)22.1% (11)
OBP.315 (19).296 (28)
ERA4.50 (18)2.69 (2)
WHIP1.37 (20)1.00 (1)
K’s122 (30)185 (2)
Run Differential-25 (25)12 (+7)
Errors13 (T-3)23 (6)

Scouting the lineup

Projected starting lineupABBAHHRRBIOPSWAR
RF Max Kepler33.182623.2700.1
SS Carlos Correa58.20712271.0540.1
DH Byron Buxton 62.2261426.7790.4
LF Trevor Larnach66.24216213.5810.2
1B Joey Gallo26.2697410.7080.4
2B Edouard Julien27.2226241.0240.2
3B Jose Miranda75.2131608.662-0.2
C Christian Vazquez44.31814041.0830.7
CF Michael A. Taylor62.200437.2420.4

Looking at the lineup, it’s perplexing how the Twins have 11 wins and are in the first place. Well, it’s no thanks to the hitting. The Twins have a poor performance at the plate this season, and manager Rocco Baldelli tried to fix the problem. Baldelli has been experiencing different lineups through the season’s first three weeks. The Twins had a hole to fix at the catcher position after Gary Sanchez left this offseason, so they decided to fill the void by adding Christian Vázquez. The former Redsox catcher has been around the league for quite some time, and his defense has always been top-notch. The Twins’ middle infield is nothing special, but they have Carlos Correa leading the pack at shortstop. Although Correa isn’t back to himself yet, he still offers experience and leadership to the infield. The former Paltinim Golve winner hit .291/.366/.467 last season, and definitely will be a name to watch in this series.

Jose Miranda is the starting third baseman as he’s a power threat and started raking after getting settled in the big leagues after making his debut last season. Joey Gallo is a player with a big question mark above his name, as he had an inconsistent year last season and had his worst statistical year in 2022. Byron Buxton often finds himself in the headlines with his diving plays and elite speed. Meanwhile, Nationals fans may be able to see former Nationals outfielder Michael A. Taylor in Minnesota as he’s a rotational player but has been in the lineup often this season.

Fri 4/21 – Trevor Williams (1-1) 3.52 ERA vs. Tyler Mahle (1-2) 4.11 ERA

Game time – 8:10

Sat 4/22 – Chad Kuhl (8.59) ERA vs. Jorge López (1-1) 1.73 ERA

Game time – 2:10

Sun 4/23 – Patrick Corbin (1-2) 6.30 ERA vs. TBD

Game time – 2:10

Betting Nuggets

Favorite: Twins (-189)

Underdog: Nationals (+171)

Over/Under: 8

Total: 9 runs

Broadcast Information

Television: Nationals fans will be able to watch all three games against the Twins on MASN. Bob Carpenter will handle play-by-play duties, with Kevin Frandsen as the color analyst. Dan Kolko will report from the field. MASN’s television territory covers all or parts of six states and the District of Columbia, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Charlotte, N.C., including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Local Radio: 106.7 is the flagship station of the Washington Nationals. Find all listings here. Play-by-play broadcasters Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes will call the action. All games will be available to listen to on the radio.

Prediction: The Nationals will win one of three against the Twins. Not the way you want to start a season.

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