Blue Jays vs Twins Wild Card Preview & Free Pick [Game 1]

Toronto (0-0) at Minnesota (0-0)
When: Tuesday, October 3rd 2023
Where: Target Field,
Minneapolis, MN

Time: 4:38 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Minnesota -109/7

Two franchises who have not had recent success in the Major League Baseball postseason will battle in Game 1 of their wild card series Tuesday night when the Toronto Blue Jays visit the Minnesota Twins. The Blue Jays are in the wild card round for the third time in four seasons after finishing 89-73 and edging out the Seattle Mariners by one game. There were swept at Tampa Bay in 2020 and again at home last year to the Mariners.

Minnesota is on a historic postseason run, but it’s not good. They were last swept in the 2020 wild card series by Houston. The Twins have lost an incredible 18 straight postseason contests with their last win in 2004. That dubious streak is the longest in major American professional sports history. The next longest in baseball is 13, by the 1986-98 Red Sox.

This is the first time these teams will meet in the postseason. They split six regular-season meetings with Toronto taking two of three at Target Field back in late May. As the AL Central champs, Minnesota will host this best-of-three series. Kevin Gausman will get the ball for Toronto against Minnesota ace Pablo Lopez.

Pitchers: Blue Jays – Kevin Gausman (12-9, 3.16) | Twins – Pablo Lopez (11-8, 3.66)

Because the Blue Jays clinched on Saturday, there were able to hold Gausman back for this Game 1 on Tuesday. He enters off back-to-back shutouts against the Yankees spanning 13 innings with just six hits allowed. Gausman is 1-0 in two starts this year against the Twins with an ERA of 6.30. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.57 ERA in 21.2 career postseason innings.

Lopez did not end the season on a high-note, allowing 11 earned runs over his last three starts against three poor teams – White Sox, Angels, A’s. He started 32 games for the second year in a row and struck out 234 batters in 194 innings. He also surrendered a career-high 24 home runs. Lopez allowed two runs over five innings of a loss in the 2020 NLDS while with the Marlins. His lone start this year vs. Toronto was on May 27 in Target Field, allowing four runs over 5.2 innings but earning the victory.

Now that Toronto is in the postseason, look out. This can be a dangerous team that has great hitting and pitching. I’ll side with them in this Game 1. Gausman comes in with much better form than Lopez. Oh, and Minnesota losing 18-straight playoff games doesn’t hurt my chances either.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free MLB Picks page for today.

Pick: Blue Jays -108