The Twins are getting closer to locking up an AL Central title, and they can take another step on Wednesday afternoon against the Rays. Tampa might be running out of time to catch up to the Orioles in the AL East. With Taj Bradley on the mound, can they make up ground? The Rays are slight road favorites at -125 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Wednesday’s matchup and break down why the Rays are a better value even as the favorites.
Rays vs. Twins Prediction
The Rays’ offense was never going to replicate its April performance, but it had a bit of a resurgence in August and continues to get the job done without Wander Franco. It might be tough for Dallas Keuchel to keep Tampa’s lineup at bay on Wednesday.
Keuchel has kept his numbers in the respectable range (considering low expectations) by limiting home runs. So far, he’s allowed just two in 26.1 IP. It’s the same home run rate he had during his Cy Young season and less than half of what his rate was between 2021 and 2022. It doesn’t seem sustainable. At some point, hard hits against Keuchel are going to turn into home runs, and the Rays have a deep enough lineup to be the team to get it done.
The Twins’ low-contact lineup has gotten a spark out of Royce Lewis, but Minnesota hasn’t hit very well over its last six games. It might take a really wild day from Taj Bradley for the Twins to give Keuchel enough run support.
After a slow offensive night on Tuesday, though, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the offenses take advantage of these starters and hit the over. Rays moneyline (-125) and Over 9 Runs (-105) are both worth a look.
Rays vs. Twins Prediction: Rays Moneyline (-125), Over 9 Runs (-105)
Rays vs. Twins Odds
The Rays are slight road favorites at -125 on the moneyline. The over/under is 9 runs.
Bradley has had a pretty uninspiring start to his career, but the Rays have been hitting well enough and Keuchel is still so volatile that Tampa is holding steady as a favorite in Minnesota.
Rays vs. Twins Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Rays vs. Twins.
Rays’ Power vs. Dallas Keuchel
Keuchel fell out of the league because he looked as incompetent with the White Sox and Diamondbacks as Adam Wainwright does this year. Somehow, he’s been pretty decent for the Twins this season. Will that last?
Keuchel’s low 0.7 HR/9 rate, with just two homers allowed in 26.1 IP, seems unsustainable. His home run rate was more than double that in 2022, and it was double his current rate over 30 starts in 2021.
It’s pretty unlikely Keuchel keeps allowing home runs at the same rate he did when he won a Cy Young award, and the Rays, who hit 35 homers with a .450 SLG in August, are the type of team that can break the trend. Yandy Diaz and Isaac Paredes have been hitting their share of homers and look like the Rays’ biggest threats right now.
Twins Lineup vs. Taj Bradley Control Issues
Bradley has struggled mightily with the home run ball this season, but walks have popped up as another major issue lately. His 3.5 BB/9 rate isn’t too bad for such an inexperienced starter, but Bradley has walked 11 batters in his last 14.2 IP, with the two worst performances coming on the road.
The Twins are sixth in baseball with 3.55 walks per game, which ironically lines right up with Bradley’s season average per nine. Can Minnesota take advantage and get some free traffic on the basepaths? The Twins are missing a couple high-walk guys in Joey Gallo and Byron Buxton, but Edouard Julien and Carlos Correa are among hitters who have found ways to stay patient and work walks.
Rays vs. Twins Starting Lineups
Rays Starting Lineup
1B Yandy Diaz R
2B Brandon Lowe L
LF Randy Arozarena R
RF Josh Lowe L
3B Isaac Paredes R
CF Luke Raley L
SS Taylor Walls S
DH Jonathan Aranda L
C Rene Pinto R
Twins Starting Lineup
DH Edouard Julien L
1B Alex Kirilloff L
3B Royce Lewis R
RF Max Kepler L
SS Carlos Correa L
LF Matt Wallner L
2B Donovan Solano R
C Ryan Jeffers R
CF Willi Castro S