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Twins vs. Tigers, 6:40 ET
There are some games that you look at on a calendar and recognize they can’t make or break the year, but they are more important than others. As we get toward the middle of August we start to recognize that the division matchups are more important than ever. Tonight we get a division matchup between the Twins and Tigers, one that could solidify the fate of at least one team.
The Twins are currently 5.5 games above the Guardians and 10 games above the Tigers. If the Twins get swept is it a big deal, not really. They could lose all of these and still be in a comfortable spot, but the biggest thing is that they can step on the Tigers throat and essentially end their season with wins in this series. I mentioned in a few other articles that the Guardians gave up on the division and essentially handed it to the Twins at the deadline. I thought it was a bit awkward, but that’s what happened. Sonny Gray takes the ball for the Twins and he is likely the first starter when (and if) the Twins do make the playoffs this season. He’s had a very solid season and was responsible for my biggest win of the baseball season when he took on the Cardinals last week. In that game, he put a solid seven inning performance of just two earned runs allowed. It was only the second win for the Twins in a Gray start in his last seven outings. He has a pretty solid track record against Tigers hitters, especially Javier Baez.
Detroit is one of those teams that has had such bad stretches that it has defined the season. Their start was brutal – they didn’t play good baseball at all and it was bad enough that it set them back and made them dig out of the hole this entire time. The Tigers actually had some solid pitching this season from their staff, and yes, they tried to trade away their two best pitchers this season. I won’t say the team pitching was amazing or anything, but they still have been better than expected. Their hitting has struggled and I don’t think that is much of a surprise to anyone. Tonight’s starter is the pitcher that they attempted to trade, Eduardo Rodriguez. He chose to stay in Detroit rather than go to Los Angeles. It was for family reasons, so I understand it. He’s having a great season with a 7-5 record and a 2.96 ERA. He’s been better on the road and during day starts, neither of which are taking place tonight. Twins hitters have been very successful against Rodriguez, but this season has been different for him compared to others. He hasn’t had to face Minnesota this year so maybe whatever changes he has made will make a positive impact.
We are getting two solid pitchers with really strong seasons thus far squaring off tonight and that does lead me to think the under is the right play here. Division battles can often lead to unders anyway, but in this case, I think the best play is to take the Twins. They are playing good baseball right now and the Tigers have been just average thus far. I’ll take the Twins at -122 to win the game.
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