The Yankees and Twins played a marathon game Tuesday night that many are describing as the “game of the year.” New York eventually prevailed 14-12 in the back-and-forth affair that featured a six-run comeback as well as a number of late-inning home runs. These games could prove crucial in October, as these are two of the three best teams in the American League. The Yankees (65-35) hold the AL’s best record, and they now own a four-game cushion over the Twins, who own the league’s third-best record behind Houston.
The teams have split the first two games of this series in Minneapolis, and they’ll get together to play the rubber match on Wednesday night. Left-hander J.A. Happ will take the mound for the Yankees, while Jake Odorizzi will toe the rubber for the Twins.
2019 ATR Home
2019 ATR Away
2019 O/U Home
2019 O/U Away
Happ’s Uneven Form
Happ was excellent in a half-season for the Yankees last year, but he’s been less consistent so far in 2019. A season after posting a 3.65 ERA with an xFIP of 3.88, Happ’s ERA has ballooned to 4.86 while his xFIP is sitting at 4.81.
Happ struck out 26.3% of all hitters he faced a season ago, but so far this year, that number has dipped to 20%. He has successfully cut down on his walks, but he has also allowed 21 home runs after being taken deep 27 times all of last season.
Facing a powerful Twins lineup isn’t an ideal setting for a homer-prone lefty. Minnesota has been tattooing left-handed pitching all season long, ranking first in the majors in average (.290), isolated slugging (.230), and home runs (55) while ranking second behind the Astros in wOBA (.363), wRC+ (126), and on-base-plus-slugging (.874).
16 of the 21 homers Happ has coughed up this season have been hit by righties, and he’ll likely face between six and seven right-handed hitters in the Minnesota lineup tonight. Mitch Garver (.475 ISO), Nelson Cruz (.422), Miguel Sano (.367), Max Kepler (.215), and Jonathan Schoop (.231) have all been crushing left-handed pitching from a power perspective so far this season.
Jake Odorizzi has been arguably the best pitcher on the Twins’ starting staff so far this season, but the underlying numbers have indicated for a while that some regression is likely on the way. Odorizzi’s ERA has risen to 3.18, while his xFIP is sitting at a relatively ugly 4.72. He has allowed hard hits at a 43.1% clip, which is dangerous for a fly ball pitcher like Odorizzi.
So far, the hard-hit fly balls have mostly stayed in the ballpark, however. Odorizzi has been taken deep 12 times in 19 starts, which is impressive considering he allowed 30 homers as recently as two seasons ago. His strikeout rate is sitting at a career-high 25.3%, though his 8.5% walk rate is still a tick too high for comfort.
Odorizzi has also shown reverse splits for most of his career, which won’t help him against a Yankee lineup teeming with right-handed power hitters. Edwin Encarnacion (.268), Aaron Hicks (.293), Aaron Judge (.237), Luke Voit (.230), and Gleyber Torres (.226) all have well above-average ISOs on the year. Gary Sanchez will be out of the Yankee lineup after getting hurt on Tuesday night, but there’s still no shortage of pop opposing Odorizzi tonight.
We have a couple of good-not-great pitchers taking the mound in Minnesota tonight, and they’ll both be opposed by a couple of the best offenses in all of baseball. I think the Twins side of this game is being undervalued by oddsmakers, especially considering they’re playing at home. Odorizzi has allowed a .257 wOBA at Target Field this season compared to a .300 mark on the road. His 2.56 home ERA is also quite a bit better than his road ERA of 3.88.
I like the Twins tonight. This game is essentially a coin flip, so I really like the idea of getting the home team at plus odds on the moneyline. There’s no reason to believe the righty-heavy Minnesota lineup can’t get to Happ early and often in this spot, so why not take the value and run?
Give me the Twins to win the game outright at +100 on the moneyline.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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