The State of the State: Iowa

July 19, 2023

A look at what’s happening on the Iowa sports scene: The Hawkeye State has a lot of options when it comes to rooting on a big league team, but this year, it comes down to the Twins and Brewers

© Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

According to various fan polls and surveys, folks from Iowa root for a multitude of teams. The Royals, Cubs and White Sox generally factor in prominently. The Twins and Brewers factor in, too, although generally ranking lower in those same polls.

Unfortunately for fans of most popular teams in Iowa, the 2023 season hasn’t been so kind. The Royals are the second-worst team in baseball, while the Cubs and White Sox are hovering around 8.0 games back of their respective division leaders.

So, if someone in Iowa is looking to place a wager on an area team that could make some noise down the stretch run, there are really only two choices: The Twins and Brewers, both of which currently lead their division.

Will either one contend for a pennant or World Series run? Anything is possible, but let’s take one step at a time.

Why to like Minnesota to win the AL Central (-230)…

  • It’s not as though the division is loaded with juggernauts; at the break, only the Guardians were at or above .500. Now, only the Twins can make that claim sitting at 48-46.
  • The Twins pitching, both in terms of the rotation and bullpen, has arguably been one of baseball’s best all season. In fact, it’s really the primary reason they’re in contention at all. Minnesota’s 1.17 WHIP is the best in baseball.
  • The Twins offense isn’t good, but they do hit for power, coming in 5th place in total home runs in the American League with 120 bombs. Despite some true deficiencies in other areas, the longball can be the great equalizer.

Why to like Milwaukee to win the NL Central (-170)…

  • Holding a 2.0 game-lead in the division, the Brewers are still in the driver’s seat in the NL Central. Cincinnati may be this year’s surprise team, and Elly De La Cruz is certainly a great story, but being a contender in July is much different than being one in September.
  • Milwaukee has fielded one of baseball’s top pitching staffs despite also being one of the most injured. As the staff continues to get healthier, which has been the trend of late, the Brew Crew could be dangerous on the mound.
  • Christian Yelich is starting to look like Christian Yelich again. Batting .286, Yelich has 20 doubles and 21 stolen bases to go along with 13 home runs.

Richard DeMala’s pick: Minnesota to win the AL Central (-230)