Josh Donaldson is not threat to win the American League MVP in 2017 after doing so in 2015 and finishing fourth in the balloting in 2016, but he has performed every bit like one throughout his career against the Minnesota Twins. Donaldson will try to continue wrecking the Twins’ dreams of visiting the postseason again Sunday when the Toronto Blue Jays eye a series win in their four-game road set versus the Twins.
A right calf injury in April and May thwarted any chance Donaldson had of making another run for AL MVP, but he has remained a persistent thorn in Minnesota’s side regardless, batting .389 with 17 homers, 43 RBIs and 38 runs scored in 39 games versus the Twins. The three-time All-Star saved perhaps his best performance against them for Saturday’s 7-2 win, as he went 4-for-5 with two solo blasts and four runs scored, making him 8-for-13 with three home runs, five RBIs and five runs scored in this series. Despite consecutive losses to Toronto this weekend, Minnesota is 11-4 over its last 15 home contests following a 14-24 start. The Twins would like nothing more than to return to their winning ways at Target Field, however, as they hold a tenuous one-game edge over the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild-card slot.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet (Toronto), TVA Sports (Toronto), FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Joe Biagini (3-10, 5.07 ERA) vs. Twins RH Kyle Gibson (10-10, 4.97)
Biagini was efficient (88 pitches) and cruised through the majority of his outing Tuesday against Baltimore, but he still came away with a no-decision despite giving up two runs over a career-high eight innings. The 27-year-old UC Davis product is 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in four turns since rejoining the rotation against Minnesota last month and 2-9, 5.40 in 15 starts this season. Brian Dozier is 0-for-5 with four strikeouts versus Biagini, who gave up five runs in 3 2/3 frames on Aug. 27 to take the loss against the Twins.
Gibson won his fourth straight decision after posting his fifth consecutive quality start Tuesday versus San Diego, allowing four hits while striking out six over as many scoreless innings. The Indiana native hasn’t surrendered more than two runs in any outing during his five-start unbeaten streak, posting a 26:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.38 ERA over that span. Gibson won his head-to-head with Biagini on Aug. 27 after permitting two runs in seven frames, improving to 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts versus the Blue Jays.
1. Twins OF Byron Buxton has been successful in each of his last 21 stolen base attempts - one shy of the club mark - and is 26-for-27 this season.
2. Toronto OF Jose Bautista went 3-for-4 Saturday to snap a 0-for-17 slump over his previous four games.
3. Minnesota has clubbed a home run in 15 straight games, one shy of matching the club record.
PREDICTION: Twins 4, Blue Jays 3