McKenzie and Guardians Can Put Further Distance on Twins

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Twins vs. Guardians, 7:10 ET

It isn’t quite this dire, but this is something of a last stand for the Twins. If they lose all the games, they will likely be out of playoff contention, or at least have a really hard road ahead of them. If they win them all, they vault themselves close to the top of the division and make the race really interesting. For now, though, the Guardians are the leaders that teams have to chase.

The Twins are relying on Bailey Ober to get them off to a good start in the series. My objection to the Twins hype at the beginning of the season was that their pitching staff was terrible. I still stand by the assessment, with maybe the exception of Sonny Gray. I was wrong about the Tigers being the second-place team in the division, but I had the Twins third on the year and that is where they sit. (And, about the Tigers, I wasn’t just wrong, I was really, really, really wrong.) Anyhow, Ober is making the start today after not pitching since June 1st. He wasn’t great before he went on the injured list, making just seven starts and only one quality start on the year. The Twins did win five of those starts though, so he put them at least in a position to win in about three or four of them.

If you look strictly at Triston McKenzie’s win-loss record, you’ll probably think he is a bad pitcher or having a bad season. At just 10-11, he has a ton of decisions, but he’s also below .500. That’s not really telling the whole story though and a good reason why that stat is often irrelevant. McKenzie is 17th in the majors for ERA at 3.05 and 19th in strikeouts. Oh, he also is 7th in WHIP, so yes, he is a good pitcher and having a good season. He also locked down the Twins in his most recent start, going seven innings and allowing no earned runs. He also had a quality start against them in his first matchup versus them this season. Those two strong starts were sandwiched between two really bad ones where he allowed 13 earned runs in 10.1 innings. He is pitching well, but there is that concern that he could struggle at any given moment.

I don’t have faith in Bailey Ober coming off the injured list and hurling a gem, I think the Guardians are the correct side here. As I mentioned, McKenzie could fall apart and this could backfire on me, but I like them better. The Guardians are 24-16 in one-run games. That means that 52 of their wins have been my more than two runs. I’m going to take the run line – the conservative line would be the moneyline, but I’m going for the +155. I try to not play juice higher than 130/135 so I’m turning to this instead of the -140 listed.

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Written by David Troy

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