Twins vs Reds Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Monday, September 18
Via Matt Krohn/Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Correa #4 of the Minnesota Twins runs back to the dugout against the Cleveland Guardians during the fifth inning at Target Field on June 1, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Twins vs. Reds Odds
The Cincinnati Reds sit just a half-game out of a wild-card spot in the National League and will try to continue their climb up the standings when they face the Twins, who are fresh off a series win.
Can young Connor Phillips showcase the talent which helped him earn a spot in the big-league rotation, or will this matchup be too much for him to handle?
Let's break it down in our Twins vs. Reds preview and prediction.
Joe Ryan has fallen short of expectations in 2023 after a breakout 2022 campaign, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has pitched poorly. In fact, his 3.44 xERA and .223 xBA would indicate that he's actually been an above-average pitcher despite posting a very pedestrian 4.20 ERA to this point.
I'm always the first to say that there's more to life than reading an xERA and moving on, but in Ryan's case it does appear he's done plenty to earn better results. His strikeout rate has climbed from 25% a year ago to 29.2% this season, and his walk rate has dropped to an excellent 5%. The thing that has held Ryan back is his poor 41.5% hard-hit rate, and when you're known as a fly ball pitcher that's generally not a good thing.
Still, he's a pitcher worth believing in going forward, and his 3.07 ERA in three starts this month is a bit more representative of who he is.
The Twins offense, meanwhile, continues to hum along. Minnesota sits fourth in wRC+ over the second half of the season with a splendid 10.3% walk rate, juxtaposed next to an extremely poor 27% strikeout rate. This team has hit .257 during the time, but with those numbers and a great .206 Isolated Power this is a team pretty much predicated on the three true outcomes.
Phillips, like all young pitchers, is a mystery at this stage of his career. He's a tale as old as time: a highly-touted prospect with excellent strikeout numbers in the minors who is struggling to adjust to the step up to the big leagues. The one thing that should help Phillips out is his propensity for the ground ball, given he posted a 46.6% ground ball rate in Triple-A this season, though he's rolled them up at just a 26.9% clip in two starts for the Reds.
Phillips has done well to strike out 23.3% of the batters he's faced, but his poor ground ball numbers and high 14% walk rate have made life very difficult on the 22-year-old. He's also allowed three home runs, which is what happens when you fail to get the ball on the ground.
With a rotation in shambles and a slumping offense, it's a marvel that the Reds have made it this far in the playoff race. They rank 26th in wRC+ over the second half of the season with the 10th-highest swinging strike rate and own an awful 26% strikeout rate. Even over the last week, Cincinnati is hitting just .221.
Twins vs. Reds
Betting Pick & Prediction
The Reds' lack of power and their awful swing-and-miss numbers make them a pretty great matchup for Ryan. The right-hander has looked more like himself over his last three starts and his strikeout numbers should continue to pop in this matchup, with his home runs concerns falling by the wayside against a team with a .127 ISO in the last week.
On the other side of the coin, while the Twins have been striking out a lot, their ability to get the ball in the air and hit for power, coupled with their incredibly patient approach, should be pretty bad news for Phillips if we're reading into his first two major-league starts. I think he'll turn out to be one of the Reds' better prospects, but we have learned that the big leagues take some time to adjust to for even the most talented young arms.
I'll be drinking some juice here and betting on Minnesota.
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