While many teams started the 2022 Major League Baseball season yesterday, the game between the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins was rained out and the teams will kick off their season today at Target Field in Minneapolis. This is an intriguing early-season matchup between a couple of teams with eyes on contending after disappointing seasons last year.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 8, 2022
Both of these teams loaded up in the offseason and are hoping to break through with a trip to the postseason this year. There is always plenty of room for optimism on Opening Day, even if you have to play it a day late, because somebody somewhere decided that an outdoor stadium in Minnesota to play baseball in March and April was a good idea! All kidding aside, we should have an entertaining affair on hand for you today from Minnesota, in this game between the Mariners and the Twins!
Seattle Mariners (0-0)
Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto decided to hit the reset button a couple of years ago as he burned it to the ground and started over. The M’s haven’t made the postseason since 2001, the longest streak in all of baseball, and while they were always competitive and in the hunt, they never could breakthrough. Those rebuilding efforts started to bear fruit last season, when Seattle won 90 games and just missed out on the playoffs, and after an offseason that was jam-packed with moves, the Mariners are a sexy dark horse contender in the American League this year.
Seattle had one of the weakest hitting lines up in the majors last year, and they addressed those concerns in a big way when they brought in Adam Frazier, Eugenio Suarez, and Jesse Winker via trades. Frazier and Winker were both All-Stars last year and Suarez leads all of baseball in home runs in the last 4 years, despite hitting for a low average. All of those guys are going to instantly make Seattle more formidable at the plate, but the guy that everyone is talking about in Seattle right now is budding superstar Julio Rodriguez.
OH BABY pic.twitter.com/emiSjeQK7k
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 8, 2022
J-Rod is either baseball’s top prospect, or close to it, and after slashing an absurd .419 in spring training, Seattle had no choice but to add him to the roster for Opening Day. This kid has all of the charisma to be the next Ken Griffey Jr or Alex Rodriguez in Seattle, and he is a true 5-tool guy that can do everything you would ever want on the baseball diamond. Throw in last year’s top prospect, Jared Kelenic, who is also poised for a breakout season, and Seattle has a great mix of veteran leadership and young studs to be a true contender in the AL West this season.
We just talked about how Seattle loaded up on bats in the offseason, but they also made sure to shore up their rotation as well, by bringing in last year’s Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. Ray led the AL in basically every major pitching stat and he gives the Mariners a true ace at the top of their rotation. Ray has always had nasty stuff, his issues have surrounded his ability to throw strikes.
In 2020, he arguably had the worst command of any starting pitcher in baseball, as he walked a completely absurd 7.8 hitters per 9 innings. But last year, he honed that in, walking a career-best 2.4 hitters per 9 innings, and with that improved command, he ran away with the Cy Young Award honors in the American League. If Ray can continue to find the plate, he just might be the missing piece to get Seattle back to the postseason this year.
Today’s Starting Pitching Matchup
Minnesota Twins (0-0)
Last season was an abomination for the Minnesota Twins, as they finished in dead last place in the AL Central Division, and only the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles had more losses in the American League than Minnesota did in 2021. They made some mid-season deals to dump payroll and rebuild, but instead of going the multi-year rebuild route, like the Mariners did, Minnesota decided to jump right back into the fray this year, as they were buyers in the offseason.
OPENING ? DAY ? LINEUP ? pic.twitter.com/Q5341T78ZM
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) April 8, 2022
The big name that Minnesota brought to town is All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa. Correa gives the Twins a heavy-hitting bat in the middle of their lineup and a Gold Glove level defender at a key position in the field. Correa is the headliner, but Minnesota also brought in a couple of former Yankees with slugging catcher Gary Sanchez and the oft-injured, but undeniably talented, Gio Urshela.
The other guy that you need to keep your eye on this year for the Twins is Byron Buxton. Buxton was once the biggest prospect in baseball and while his glove and speed have lived up to that hype, his bat never has. Well, until last year, when he was running away from the pack in the AL MVP race before a season-ending injury cut his year short. Through 61 games in 2021, Buxton hit .306, with 19 homers, 32 RBI, and 23 doubles. Those project out as MVP caliber stats if he were able to stay healthy, and despite having 7 MLB seasons under his belt, he is still just 28 years old, and we likely haven’t seen the best out of him just yet.
Joe Ryan is technically the ace of the Twins pitching staff as he is getting the nod on Opening Day, but I am not sure I am ready to call him a true ace as of yet, as this kid is just 25 years old and has very little MLB experience. Ryan was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay last season, and in 5 starts late last year, he posted respectable numbers, with a 2-1 record and 4.05 ERA.
Minnesota is going to need a lot out of this youngster this season if they are truly going to compete in the AL Central. In the minors, he showed elite swing and miss stuff, with a K/9 ratio of 13 across 42 starts. If he is able to come anywhere near that in the show, he is going to be a Cy Young Award winner very, very soon. If there is one glaring weakness to the Twins roster it would be their rotation, but with Ryan as a high upside prospect, and Sonny Gray, Chris Archer, and Dylan Bundy surrounding him, as veteran starters, I am not sure that it is quite as bad as advertised, as there is certainly potential here.
Seattle Mariners vs Minnesota Twins Betting Odds And Team Statistics
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Teams||Money line||Total||Run Line|
|Seattle Mariners||(+109)||Over 8 (-110)||+1.5 (-200)|
|Minnesota Twins||(-119)||Under 8 (-110)||-1.5 (+170)|
|Team Data||Seattle Mariners||Minnesota Twins|
|Overall Record||90-72 (2021)||73-89 (2021)|
|Home Record||46-35 (2021)||38-43 (2021)|
|Away Record||44-37 (2021)||35-46 (2021)|
|Runs Per Game||N/A||N/A|
|Runs Against Per Game||N/A||N/A|
|Hits Per Game||N/A||N/A|
|Walks Per Game||N/A||N/A|
Seattle Mariners vs Minnesota Twins Prediction:
This is an interesting line. It opened up with the Twins as small home field favorites and since then, nearly all of the action has come in on the Twins. I mean, I get it, home teams win more games than road teams, but I am shocked to see that there is so much confidence in young Joe Ryan, in this matchup with the reigning Cy Young Award winner, Robbie Ray.
As a general rule, I always make sure that I am not overvaluing the starting pitching matchup, particularly early in the season, as these guys aren’t fully stretched out yet, and they aren’t going to be getting overly deep into games. But to see Robbie Ray getting dog money against a kid that had made only 5 Big League starts just doesn’t add up to me.
No. 44, batting seventh for the Seattle Mariners, Julio Rodríguez! ??? pic.twitter.com/2KQfoq9Hm4
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 8, 2022
And when I look at these lineups, the Mariners stand out as being better pretty much everywhere. Seattle should hit for average and power this year, and they have speed up and down this lineup as well. I know it is hard to wrap your head around the Mariners actually being good, as they have been so bad, for so long, but get used to this now, as the Mariners are the real deal this year, and they need to be feared.
Seattle Mariners vs Minnesota Twins Betting Trends:
- Seattle is 11-3 SU in their last 14 games
- Seattle is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games against Minnesota
- Seattle is 7-1 SU in their last 8 games on the road
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Seattle’s last 6 games when playing on the road against Minnesota
- Seattle is 11-3 SU in their last 14 games against an opponent in the American League
- The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Minnesota’s last 10 games
- Minnesota is 8-4 SU in their last 12 games
- The total has gone OVER in 9 of Minnesota’s last 11 games against Seattle
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Minnesota’s last 7 games at home
- Minnesota is 4-2 SU in their last 6 games against an opponent in the American League
I know we are only on day 2 of the 2022 Major League Baseball regular season, but I have been handicapping baseball for over a decade, and I have been covering MLB here at TheSportsGeek for 5 years, and I have made a bunch of money following a couple of tried-and-true strategies.
The first strategy? Take the dogs! When you are betting on MLB, the value side is almost always going to be on the underdogs, and you are almost never going to find me laying huge wood on a regular-season baseball game. That’s not to say that I won’t ever take favorites, as I certainly will take advantage of a bad line any time that I can find one, but if you find yourself in a spot like this one, where either team could win, you are always going to want to be on the side getting the juice, rather than laying it.
The second strategy that I have used to stack boatloads of cash over the years? Fading the public. In baseball more than any other sport, if everyone is on one side of a game, you want to be on the other side. Part of that is because the public is exceedingly good at always getting it wrong, but I mostly fade the public, because the more the line moves from the mathematically correct opening line, the more value you have betting on the other side.
With a play on the Mariners, I get to take an underdog and I get to fade the public, and that is what I will do, as I see Seattle winning this game behind a decent outing from Robbie Ray, to start their season out 1-0! Give me the Seattle Mariners as road dogs today as they hand the Twins their first loss of the season!