Twins nearing team run differential record
After cruising through August and the first week of September the Minnesota Twins are on the cusp of one of the best run differentials in team history.
The Twins' run differential stands at plus-168, with 833 runs scored and 665 runs allowed heading into a three-game series with the Washington Nationals.
The 1965 Twins hold the current club record at plus-174, followed by the 1965 team at plus-172.
Minnesota is 18-9 since Aug. 10, tied with the Nationals for the fourth-best record in the majors over the past month, while their lead in the AL Central is back up to five games. Only the Atlanta Braves (21-6), St. Louis Cardinals (22-7) and Tampa Bay Rays (19-9) have been better over that span.
Veteran slugger Nelson Cruz missed two games over the weekend after aggravating a lingering wrist injury Friday, although manager Rocco Baldelli dubbed his absence a "coach's decision."
While the shorthanded Minnesota Twins could use their 39-year-old designated hitter for Tuesday's game, Nationals starter Anibal Sanchez can't be too excited about facing Cruz again.
Cruz has hit four of his 395 career home runs in just 15 at-bats against Sanchez, and is averaging a homer in every 3.75 at-bats against the veteran right-hander.
That's the best rate of his career against a single pitcher.
Cruz has hit more than four home runs against just four pitchers: Felix Hernandez, Dallas Keuchel, Jerome Williams and Jason Vargas.
Cruz and the Twins have a relatively easy path to the playoffs with the third-easiest remaining strength of schedule in the majors.
Minnesota plays three games against Washington, followed by three against the Cleveland Indians. From there the Twins play their remaining 13 games against the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers.
Their remaining strength of schedule (.431) is the third-easiest in the majors.
Statistics via Sportradar