The Minnesota Twins grabbed another win yesterday to extend their slim lead in the AL Central. The Twins have the lead now, but there aren’t too many who have much confidence in them to sustain it. They currently assume a lead by a few games, ahead of the Cleveland Indians who were the surprise in the AL Central a year ago.
Everybody was expecting the Indians to hit a wall last season, they never did. This season the Twins are leading the division, and there are many people out there who are waiting for them to hit a wall. There is still plenty of time for them to do it, but they are exceeding the expiration date of some predictions. We’ll see if a similar scenario plays out this season, as it did for the Indians.
The Rays are mediocre as ever, as they regressed to .500 on the season at 26-26. This team can’t seem to get over the hill, but they’re on a better pace to do it than they were a year ago. Partially to blame was Chris Archer, believe it or not.
Archer was expected to go into Cy Young mode in 2016, but he was one of the bigger disappointments in baseball. Archer has been one of the best pitchers this season, though, and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get attention at the trade deadline from the likes of the Yankees.
The AL East is awfully clumped up, with the Rays just 5 games back if 1st place. Not bad for a team who are 26-26. This race is wide open, with even the last place Blue Jays still a viable candidate at making a run at the division. Alex Cobb will take on Kyle Gibson this afternoon. Happy Memorial Day, and let’s get to our Rays vs. Twins pick.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins Pick
Alex Cobb (4-4, 3.82 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (1-4, 8.62 ERA)
Alex Cobb is in sixth season as a pro at the major league level, all with the Rays. He’s had ups and downs, a down coming in 2016 where he suffered an injury after five starts. Cobb was off from the start, and ultimately finished with a 8.59 ERA across those outings. Overall though, Cobb has been a fine pitcher. In 2014 and 2013 he was one of the more underrated pitchers in the majors, finishing with ERA’s below 3.00 in each year.
I don’t think Cobb will ever get back to that level, but he can still be a serviceable pitcher. He possesses a 3.82 ERA in 2017 and has been adequate. However, he has given up 11 runs in his last three starts, for an ERA of 4.35. Cobb looks like a Cy Young candidate compared to Gibson, though. Note that Gibson holds a 8.62 ERA and 2.01 WHIP over 31.1 innings of work.
In other words, Gibson is allowing about 2 runners on base per inning, yuck. He’s been no better lately, with a 8.16 ERA and 2.09 WHIP. I don’t how much longer he can survive in the rotation, but he’s just lucky that pitching isn’t as strong as it once was or he’d be out of a job in the majors.
At home in Minnesota, his WHIP has ballooned to 2.29. This is one trappy line, however. All indications suggest the Rays take this, but the price is a bit perplexing. I do know one thing, the offenses should come out to play. The OVER is 7-3 in their last ten meetings. The Rays have played in seven straight UNDERs, but this looks like a fine opportunity for that trend to reverse. Our pick here is on the OVER in Minnesota on Sunday.
PICK: OVER 9 (-125)