Reds vs Twins: Three games in Minnesota will determine playoff berth

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 29: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds slides into second unsuccessfully while Ehire Adrianza #16 of the Minnesota Twins trans the double play in the first inning at Target Field on April 29, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 29: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds slides into second unsuccessfully while Ehire Adrianza #16 of the Minnesota Twins trans the double play in the first inning at Target Field on April 29, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /
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Jorge Polanco #11 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates with Byron Buxton
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – September 23: Jorge Polanco #11 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates with Byron Buxton. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

The Twins modus operandi will be familiar to Reds Country.

It’s a fairly simple approach the Minnesota Twins (35-22) employ. Hit plenty of home runs and rely heavily on an excellent pitching staff to make the frequent round-trippers hold up. This is a formula Reds Country is all too familiar with this season. The recipe is working in the Queen City and it’s being perfected in the Twin Cities.

Entering play yesterday, the Twins 91 homers were tied for the most in the American League. The team features a quartet of players who have blasted 13 or more home runs and that’s not even including perineal power threat in third baseman Josh Donaldson. However, when the Twins aren’t launching bombs toward the Canadian border, they struggle to dent the plate.

As a team, the Twins are slashing a pedestrian .242./.316/.431 which is essentially league average in the junior circuit. Once the Twins reach base they are a stationary bunch. Their 14 stolen bases on the season are the fewest in the AL. It should be a relatively stress-free weekend for Reds backstops Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali.

When it comes to the pitching mound, the Minnesota staff will be the best group the Redlegs have faced since battling their in-state rivals the Cleveland Indians. The Twins are second in the AL with a 3.52 team ERA and their 507 strikeouts are third among their American League foes. Former Dodger Kenta Maeda is having a spectacular season sporting a 6-1 record with a 2.70 ERA in 11 starts.

If the Twins own a late lead, it will be an uphill battle for the Reds to overcome. The Minnesota bullpen is second among AL relief corps averaging 10.46 K/9 rate and are third with a 3.56 ERA. In recent days Twins manager, Rocco Baldelli has turned to a familiar face to Reds Country to close out games.

Thirteen-year veteran and Reds nemesis Sergio Romo has picked up a couple of saves over the past 10 days. When Romo enters the game, it’s a virtual lock the Twins are headed for victory.  Minnesota is 18-5 in games when Romo has made an appearance.

As all of Reds Country knows, there’s still unfinished business with the 37-year-old right-hander dating back to the 2012 NL Division Series when he was a member of the San Francisco Giants, nailing down the save in the deciding Game Five contest with the winning runs aboard.