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The Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves are both in first place in their respective divisions, though they have taken very different paths to get there. Minnesota comes into this game as a .500 team, while the Braves have proven themselves to be one of the best teams in all of baseball. On Tuesday night, these teams will face off in Atlanta for the second game of a three-game series.
The Minnesota Twins are at 40-40 on the 2023 season after losing to the Atlanta Braves on the road on Monday night. Minnesota has lost two of their last three games, and will look to get back into the win column against the Braves here. For that to happen, the Twins will need a strong pitching performance from one of their AL Cy Young award candidates, as Joe Ryan takes the bump to start this game.
Ryan is 8-4 so far this season, and has an ERA of 2.98 in his 93.2 innings of work. Ryan is coming off of a complete game shutout in his last start, as he went the distance without surrendering a run to the Boston Red Sox. He may not be able to replicate that kind of performance on Tuesday night against a team as dangerous as the Braves, but anything close would put his team in a great position to win.
The real concern for the Twins coming into this game is whether their offense can keep up with that of the Braves, though. Minnesota is a slightly below average offensive team in terms of runs scored, and one of the worst teams in the league in terms of their batting average. If the Twins cannot string some hits together against a difficult opponent on the mound, they could be in for a long night.
The Atlanta Braves are running away with the NL East, as they enter this game at 51-27 for the season. They come into this contest on a three-game winning streak, a streak that includes a win in the first game of this series against the Twins. Here, the Braves will look to clinch a series win over the Twins in just two games, and for Bryce Elder to continue to pitch at a high level for them.
Elder comes into this game with a 5-1 record and a 2.40 ERA in his 90 innings of work on the 2023 season. He suffered his first loss of the season three starts ago against the Washington Nationals, but Elder has responded nicely to that loss. In the two starts since that loss, Elder has allowed just one run combined over those two starts in 13 innings of work. Another strong showing from Elder could be the difference in this game.
Fortunately for the Braves and Elder, the Atlanta offense has made sure that there is not a ton of pressure on their pitching staff this season. The Braves lead the National League in runs scored this year, and have plenty of power bats that can cause problems for the Twins and other teams. If the Braves can get after Ryan early, they could run away with this game at home, though that is certainly easier said than done.
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Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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