The Twins are in a dogfight with the Indians for the AL Central. Cleveland went into Minnesota and took three of four from the Twins last weekend, so the Twins are going to have to buckle down and grind it out if they have hopes of holding onto a division title. That means conquering the winnable games on the schedule. Minnesota took a step in the right direction in that regard on Thursday with a 13-6 win over the Rangers in Arlington.
The Rangers are still on the fringes of the American League Wild Card hunt, but these are games the Twins should still win. Minnesota will look to make it two straight on Friday when Jake Odorizzi takes the mound against Mike Minor. Both teams are listed at -110 on the moneyline, while the over on 10 runs (-105) is a slightly better value than betting the under (-115).
|Twins||+1 ½ (-200)||-110||Over 10 (-105)|
|Rangers||-1 ½ (+170)||-110||Under 10 (-115)|
|2019 ATR Home||30-32||31-27|
|2019 ATR Away||34-25||38-25|
|2019 O/U Home||29-30-3||30-27-1|
|2019 O/U Away||34-22-3||26-34-3|
Texas has been all over the map this season. They have spent most of the campaign in the Wild Card mix, but they tailed off shortly after the All-Star break. They briefly rebounded by winning five straight around the trade deadline, but they have once again fallen on hard times. Texas has now dropped three of their last four, and seven of their last nine overall. The skid has dropped the Rangers to 10 ½ games behind the Rays for the second Wild Card spot in the AL.
While things may not have gone as planned as far as playoff contention goes, Mike Minor has been excellent for Texas. The left-hander has a record of 11-6 with a 2.90 ERA through 24 starts. He has a strikeout rate of 25.2% with a walk rate of about 8%. His 4.31 SIERA and 4.39 xFIP aren’t as tidy as that 2.90 ERA, though, and he’s a fly ball pitcher that will allow some home runs.
Minor has been taken deep 20 times already this season, and tonight, he’ll be facing a Twins lineup with arguably as much power as any in the game. Minnesota has already set a single-season franchise record for home runs, and there’s still another month-and-a-half left in the season. The Twins have a team wOBA of .365 and a wRC+ of 126 against left-handed pitching this season. Only the Astros have been better in both categories.
Minnesota being without Nelson Cruz certainly takes some thunder out of the lineup, but there is still plenty to like here. The Twins get an offensive park upgrade heading into Texas, where it’s expected to be in the 90s around first pitch. These are ideal hitting conditions similar to the ones we saw last night. Considering the Twins put 13 runs on the board, it’s safe to say that weather matters.
Minor is definitely a better pitcher than last night’s starter, Pedro Payano, but it’s just a brutal spot for the southpaw overall.
Jake Odorizzi was a Cy Young candidate earlier in the season, but his overall numbers have tailed off following his hot start. Still, he’s been everything the Twins could’ve hoped for and more so far this season. The former Tampa Bay Ray is 13-5 through 23 starts with a solid 3.44 ERA. He’s a bit like Minor in that his SIERA (4.49) and xFIP (4.77) aren’t as good as his ERA, and he’s a fly ball pitcher taking the mound in a homer-friendly park tonight.
Odorizzi has always given up plenty of fly balls, and this year, he has conceded a 43.3% hard-hit rate. He has only allowed 15 home runs on the year, which is decent, but Texas has plenty of left-handed power to throw his way. Odorizzi has reverse splits for his career, but this season the lefties have given him more trouble.
Left-handed hitters have a .351 wOBA with 8 home runs at Odorizzi’s expense, while he’s been far better against righties (.244). The Rangers’ offense doesn’t have much, but it does have power from the left side of the plate. Shin-Soo Choo, Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara, and Willie Calhoun all sport plenty of pop from the left side of the plate.
I think the Twins make for a strong value at -110 on the moneyline here. Vegas is giving plenty of respect to Minor, but there is a pretty wide talent discrepancy between these clubs. The Twins’ projected lineup has an ISO of .261 against lefties, which is insanely high, even without their best slugger in Cruz. There aren’t many strikeouts in this lineup, either, so if Minor is giving up contact, it’s tough to see how the balls won’t be flying over the fence here.
I think there’s merit to betting on the over at -105, considering it provides more value than betting the under (-115). While both pitchers are solid, neither has amazing underlying numbers. If you want to parlay the Twins with the over, I think that’s a decent plan.
My favorite bet is the Twins on the moneyline, however.
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