As the playoffs creep closer, the Minnesota Twins look likely while the Detroit Tigers are all but certainly out. Even so, that doesn’t mean that there will be any less intensity in this matchup between division rivals, who will not meet again after Wednesday’s clash until next season. Let’s take a look at the odds for this AL Central duel, where the prediction is for the Tigers to cover a spread of +1.5, and for the under to hit at -118 odds for a total of 8.5 runs.
Tigers vs. Twins Prediction
The Tigers are out, but they are by no means down, especially when it comes to playing the Twins. After all, this is the AL Central, the division that gave us the Ramirez-Anderson smackdown- there’s no love lost between any of the members of the Midwest’s baseball community. In fact, when these teams met for a 4 game set last week, the Twins took game 1, but the Tigers shocked the division leaders and won the remaining three.
The last win in that series was recorded by rookie Reese Olson, who put in his best performance as a pro amidst what had been a pretty tough stretch. He threw six scoreless innings, his longest outing without giving up a run in his young career. It was a huge bounce back performance for Olson, who also nearly set a career best with a very solid eight strikeouts, as it was coming on the heels of a three-game stretch in which he had given up 13 runs.
Olson is going up against the veteran Kenta Maeda, who is in his best run of form of the season. In his past five starts, he’s allowed just seven runs, no more than two in any one outing, and has made it through at least six innings in four of those five ballgames. Neither arm has ace-like numbers on the year, but Olson’s mastery of the Twins- he tossed 5.1 one-run innings against them back in June for his only other MLB win- paired with Maeda’s great recent track record has me believing that this one could shape up to be a pitcher’s duel. In fact, that’s exactly what happened in the last start for each of these guys, which was also a head-to-head matchup between them; Detroit won a 3-0 ballgame. Neither arm has to be quite as sharp as last time for the this one to stay under 8.5 4uns, so I’m backing the under.
The result is a much harder one to bet. I could see this one going either way, but would probably lean towards the Twins. That being said, -180 is not a great line for this matchup, and it could be close enough that you could get burned betting them on a spread of -1.5. I like Detroit on the opposite side of that spread; Olson has shown an ability to hang with Minnesota’s very average offense, and should keep this one close, or even help Detroit win it.
Tigers vs. Twins Prediction: Tigers +1.5 (-142), u8.5 runs (-118)
Tigers vs. Twins Odds
The Tigers are +150 underdogs on the road, while the host Twins are -180 to win. For a run scoring line of 8.5, the over is set at -102 odds while the under is -118 to hit.
Tigers vs. Twins Key Matchups
Reese Olson vs. Top of the Lineup
Olson doesn’t give up an insane amount of walks or home runs, strikes some batters out, and has no real platoon split. He does struggle getting off to a good start, however; he has an ERA of 8.10 in the first inning, fueled by a .902 OPS from opposing hitters. Luckily for Olson, the Twins don’t have a particularly imposing top of the lineup. It starts off with Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler, both of whom have OPS numbers in the mid-.700s, solid but not terrifying.
Up next is youngster Royce Lewis, one of the bigger threats; he’s put up an OPS of .829, albeit in less than 30 games. Then there’s Carlos Correa, who has famously struggled this season after a wild free agency sage. It’s worth noting that any of these bats could be supplanted by young lefty Matt Wallner, who hit a huge grand slam to win Wednesday’s game, and has posted a higher OPS than any of the aforementioned bats over his 38 games this season.
All of that being said, Olson has reasonable numbers against the start of the lineup; it’s possible that his early jitters were just that, and he’s gotten to a point where he can start games out more comfortably, as he did in his last start against Minnesota. He has every ability to put in a good performance, which is why I have the Tigers covering a +1.5 spread in my Tigers vs. Twins prediction.
Kenta Maeda vs. Tigers Lefties
Maeda is an old school pitcher, who doesn’t throw hard, but dominates with a very even pitch distribution and excellent control. He also has a very classic problem; over his career, he’s struggled getting lefties out, as a righty arm. That trend has actually been flipped a bit this season, albeit in a relatively small sample size; he’s only thrown 13 games, so let’s dig into the trend he exhibited over his previous 169 appearances.
Maeda should face some lefties right off the bat, as Detroit’s lineup begins with two. The first would be Akil Baddoo, who doesn’t hit the ball too much but walks at a good rate. Next up is Riley Greene, whose .837 OPS is second amongst all Tiger bats, regardless of playing time. He’s behind Kerry Carpenter, another lefty, on that list. Lastly, there’s Zach McKinstry, who has been one of the team’s more consistent producers this year, providing a challenge farther down the lineup.
Tigers vs. Twins Starting Lineups
Tigers Starting Lineup
LF A. Baddoo L
CF R. Greene L
3B M. Vierling R
1B S. Torkelson R
RF K. Carpenter L
DH M. Cabrera R
SS Z. McKinstry L
2B I. Diaz L
C E. Haase R
Twins Starting Lineup
2B J. Polanco S
RF M. Kepler L
3B R. Lewis R
SS C. Correa R
LF M. Wallner L
C R. Jeffers R
DH D. Solano R
1B J. Gallo L
CF M. Taylor R