When you are looking to bet baseball for a profit, you need to be able to make the hard decisions that the rest of the public won’t have the courage to make, and lots of times you will have difficult decisions to make on a day in and day out basis. But every once in a long while, you just need to be there to pick up the free money. Last night was a free money situation.
Yesterday, we backed the Minnesota Twins, on the road, against the Texas Rangers. On the one hand, we had the Twins, one of the best teams in the American League, with their ace starter on the mound. On the other, we had a hapless Rangers team that has been in freefall the last two weeks, with a guy starting for them that I don’t think should even be in the major leagues. So, not only did we take Minnesota, but we also laid a run and a half on the run line to capitalize on what I was sure would be a blowout and get the maximum payout possible.
And that is just what happened. The Twins jumped out to a 6-0 in the first inning, and by the second inning had eight runs up on the board. Ariel Jurado, the triple-A pitcher the Rangers were starting, got absolutely hammered as he gave up eight runs in just two innings of work. Jurado has now given up sixteen runs in his last two starts, spanning just five and two-thirds of an inning. If you get a chance to fade this kid at a reasonable price, you need to take advantage of it, he is awful.
Surprisingly, Twins starter Jose Berrios wasn’t much better than Jurado, but it didn’t really matter as the Twins just kept pouring in the runs all evening long. Seven of the Twins nine starters drove in runs on the night, and the two guys that didn’t end up with any RBI, combined for six hits and two runs scored, so you could say it was truly a team effort.
With the win, and loss by the Cleveland Indians, the Twins extended their lead in the American League Central Division to two and a half games. Minnesota is hoping to finish off the sweep today against Texas, and if they do, they could add another game to their lead as the Indians have a brutal matchup in the Bronx against the red-hot New York Yankees. For today’s pick, we will stay right here in Texas as the Rangers host the Twins for game four.
The Minnesota Twins are in Texas Sunday, looking to complete a four-game sweep of the Rangers. This series hasn’t been very competitive, as the Twins have won all three games with a combined score of 29-16. Last night marked the seventh time this month that the Twins have scored at least seven runs in a game, and they are averaging nearly six and a half runs a game since August 1st, good for third in the major leagues.
For Texas, they finally scored some runs last night, something they haven’t been able to do a lot of as late, but it didn’t matter as they still got blown out. The Rangers have now lost nine out of their last eleven games. The Rangers are hoping they can slow down this heavy-hitting Twins team tonight with one of their better starters on the mound in Lance Lynn.
Starting for the Twins is Martin Perez (8-5 4.57 ERA), and for the Rangers, it is Lance Lynn (14-8 3.54 ERA). The game total over-under is set at ten and a half runs. The Rangers are -136 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 PM PST from Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Interestingly enough both of the starters on the mound tonight are playing in their first seasons with their new teams. And even more interesting is that both of these guys are pitching against the team they played for last season. Martin Perez was a longtime member of the Rangers, pitching for Texas from 2012-2018. And Lynn, after pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals for most of the decade, pitched half a season in Minnesota last season before then being traded to New York mid-year. Suffice to say, both of these guys are going to be very familiar with the opposing team today.
Martin Perez hasn’t been very good this season. He isn’t awful, but he does seem to always give up at least a couple of runs in each start. After a slow start to the year, the Twins have managed to win twelve out of his last twenty starts despite his very mediocre stats. In his lone start against the Rangers this season, he picked up the win, tossing six innings and allowing four earned runs.
In that one, the Twins exploded for fifteen runs of support for Perez. And really, that has been the case all season long as the Twins love to score runs when Perez pitches. The Twins score 7.14 runs per game with Perez starting, that is one of the highest totals in the majors. Perez may not be elite today, but you can expect the Twins to do their best to support him with plenty of runs.
Lance Lynn probably should have gotten traded at the trade deadline. He was rumored to be heading to several different teams, but no deal materialized, and now he must play out the stick on this Rangers team going nowhere. Lynn has done a serviceable job of making the best of a bad thing as I am sure he expected to be traded to a contender as well. In August, his ERA is just 1.42 in three starts.
The problem for Texas is that they just can’t score him any runs of support. This Rangers lineup is very weak right now, and despite Lynn pitching very well, they have lost four out of his last six starts, including the last two.
Most baseball bettors, especially the casual public bettors, put way too much emphasis on the starting pitching matchup when evaluating a game. That is why we see this number, where the Rangers are fairly significant favorites, even though they are fifteen games worse than the Twins on the year. I won’t even try and argue the fact that Lance Lynn isn’t the much better pitcher than Martin Perez. Clearly, he is.
But does that really matter all that much? Lynn won’t be pitching the entire game, and this Texas bullpen has gotten obliterated in this series. And even if Lynn does pitch into the sixth or seventh inning, which is somewhat likely, he probably won’t be able to completely shut down this Twins team that is hitting the ball hard right now.
I was a little worried the Twin’s offense wouldn’t be quite the same with Nelson Cruz hitting the IL before yesterday’s game, but they still scored twelve runs, so those concerns were cautioned a bit for today’s game. I think that Lynn pitches decent, and Perez matches him pitch for pitch as the Rangers are really struggling at the plate right now. But by the time that the bullpens come into play, the Twins will find a way to pull away and win the game.
I just can’t pass up on the opportunity to get this Twins team, that is playing really well at the moment, as underdogs, against a Rangers team that is in freefall. So, I will snatch up some nice dog money today, and back the Twins on the road, as they complete the sweep. Give me the Minnesota Twins as road underdogs at +126!