The Baltimore Orioles edged out the Minnesota Twins by a score of 3-2 on Opening Day Thursday. They got the day off on Good Friday but get things going again Saturday. The Twins had some expected success on the diamond a year ago and will look to improve on their good run in 2017. A bottom feeder in the AL Central for years, the Twins took advantage of down years from others in the American League to grab a wild card.
The Twins went 85-77 to earn a date with the Yankees in the play-in game. The Yankees were able to take care of business with a 8-4 win in the Bronx, though. However, just getting to a postseason game as an accomplishment for the Twins, who were not expected to be a competitor. Improving on that performance is going to be tough in 2018.
We’ll see if the Twins were just a flash in the pan a year ago. The Indians are still the class of the American League Central, so barring some miraculous happening, the Twins aren’t jumping up to win the division. Their offense at the plate can be hot and cold, while their pitching may or may not be a bright point. For positive results, they’re going to need to find some workhorses in the stable to help them out. Ervin Santana is battling a bad finger and is on the 10-day DL, so the ageless 35-year-old should be able to help out if he can stay healthy. He was having trouble gripping a baseball a week ago, so the Twins are hoping this doesn’t linger.
Any time you see Kyle Gibson getting the, it can be a bit frightening, but the 1-2 punch of Odorizzi and Berrios may prove to be effective. The Twins did a fine job of reeling in Jake Odorizzi, the former Tampa Bay Ray, who pitched well in his debut on Thursday. However, question marks remain behind him. A lot will depend on how Jose Berrios performs, but I like him to build on what he did in his sophomore campaign. As a rookie, the 23-year-old got pushed around with a 8.02 ERA, but responded last season, as he settled in with a 3.89 ERA. It will be interesting to see how much he’s come along. Early indications from the spring are good. Gibson will get the call in place of Santana on Saturday. The O’s will counter with former Padre, Andrew Cashner. Head below for our free Twins vs. Orioles pick.
Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles Pick
Kyle Gibson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
A guy like Kyle Gibson is a plug in a rotation. He is no way depended upon to perform extremely well, but they hope to get some good starts here and there. Gibson is a middle-of-the-road pitcher who will need run support to put up wins on the board. He is coming off identical seasons, a 5.07 ERA in 2016 and then again in 2017. His WHIP stood at 1.56 and then improved a slight bit to 1.53 last season. So, in that sense, Gibson has been pretty consistent, just not consistent in the way the Twins have been hoping for. His career against the O’s pretty well matches up with his overall production, too. He owns a 5.89 ERA in seven starts against the Orioles.
Andrew Cashner will look to come out of the gates strong for the O’s. He’s had about as much of an up and down career as anyone could have. One year he looks like an all-star, and in others he has looked like a guy who belongs in the minors. He topped out with an ERA of 2.55 in 2014 and then was a bit all over the map. Cashner hit a career low in 2016, posting a 5.98 ERA, but came back with an effort of 3.40 a year ago with the Rangers. Cashner can be an oddball, but Gibson doesn’t induce much confidence. With Gibson on the hump, I thought we’d see the Orioles with a more expensive price. The O’s should edge the Twins out again on Saturday.