The Minnesota Twins are red-hot and continue to win, pulling away from the Cleveland Indians while doing it. Pulling away for a divisional lead doesn’t look like much now, but the Twins are developing a pretty nice cushion for when the Indians decide to go on a run. I don’t think it’s going to be this easy for the Twins all season. They’re likely going to have to deal with the Indians still, but a 5.5-game lead at this point looks pretty nice.
We waited for the Twins to go on a run and catch up to the Indians in 2018. That never happened and the Indians romped to a divisional crown. Maybe we see the same thing with the Twins this season? The Indians were embarrassed with a 5-1 loss against the Orioles on Friday night. Though, I see them having something in the tank to make the AL Central a lot more interesting than last season.
With a 7-1 win over the Mariners last night, the Twins are winners in four straight games. They advanced to 29-15 on the season, while the Mariners are sitting in the backseat of the AL West with a record of 22-25. The Astros have everything under control at 30-15 and are likely going to walk to the finish line. The Angels and the Rangers are the next closest in the division with an 8.5-game deficit.
There isn’t a simple fix for the Mariners. They whiffed on the Robinson Cano deal, and with him gone, the Mariners are still a team lost without an identity. They used to have pitching, but zero offense and now there isn’t enough of either. It’s a sad way for Felix Hernandez to close out the remaining years of his career. Hernandez is gone for 4-6 weeks with a lat strain. Wade LeBlanc will get the starting nod for the Mariners in Seattle on Saturday night. Ace Jose Berrios will counter for the Twins. Head below for our free Twins vs. Mariners pick.
Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Jose Berrios was expected to be a productive member of the starting rotation for the Twins this season. That’s been the case for the last two years and he was looking for a bump into an All-Star spotlight. He is currently on pace for his best season yet after posting an ERA of 3.84 a season ago.
Berrios enters Saturday with a 3.05 ERA and solid record of 6-2. He is coming off his worst start of the year, as he got dispatched by the Angels for 12 hits and 5 runs in 5.2 innings. It was unlike Berrios, who has been lights out otherwise. It certainly skewed his numbers in the wrong direction, but he is still looking good with a 3.05 ERA.
Berrios has allowed 3 or less runs in seven of nine outings this season. In six of nine he’s given up 2 or less runs. The Mariners haven’t had much success at all getting to Berrios in his career. In 64 at-bats, they are hitting just .203 with 3 home runs.
Kyle Seager is responsible for two of them and he is not active in the lineup. Edwin Encarnacion has hit the other home run, though that’s his only hit in 12 at-bats against Berrios. Seager is one of the Mariners best hitters against Berrios, but he is going through rehab trying to get back on the diamond.
With him gone, this lineup is hitting well below .200 against Berrios. He should be able to handle this Mariners team who have suddenly gone cold after a hot start for the offense. They’ve scored just 3.25 runs per game across their previous eight games.
Conversely, the Twins have scored an average of 6 runs per game during that time and are 4th overall in the major leagues with 5.45 per game. They should do fine against Wade LeBlanc, who has been average this season and bad at home. Note that he holds an ERA of 5.40 and 1.90 WHIP in Seattle this season. Look for the Twins to make it another win on Saturday over the Mariners.