Minnesota has a great opportunity to make their move in the AL Central, currently 4 GB back from Cleveland as they kick off their 5-game weekend series at Progressive Field. At the very least Rocco Baldelli’s squad hopes they fare better in the September 16th Twins at Guardians contest than they did last weekend when Cleveland swept them in three games at Target Field.
The Twins were home underdogs in two of three games at home against the Guardians last weekend, so it’s no surprise they are +122 in Friday’s series opener (CLE -144). Minnesota comes into this contest off of a sweep of Kansas City but are just 7-19 in their last 26 road tilts. Cleveland has won 6 of their last 7 overall.
Twins Hoping For Better Things On Back End of the Month
Minnesota isn’t exactly playing their best baseball at the most important time of the season, starting off September 2-7 before what they hope is a momentum building home sweep of the Royals. The AL Central continues to be a jumbled mess with the Guardians, White Sox, and Twins all within 4 games of the lead but there should be some sorting out after this weekend’s 5-game set in Cleveland.
While the Twins haven’t had a lot to sing about in September, they did get good news as Luis Arraez returned to the lineup on Thursday after leaving Wednesday’s game with hamstring discomfort. Arraez is 4th in the MLB in batting average (.320) and is 8 for his last 15 (.533). Carlos Correa (.421) and Gio Urshela (.550 OBP) have also been solid the past week.
Bailey Ober (1-2, 4.01 ERA) will be activated from the injury list for the September 16th Twins at Guardians matchup. Ober hasn’t pitched in the majors since June 1st due to various injuries and he was supposed to return in a bullpen role until injuries to Tyler Mahle and Chris Archer have changed those plans.
Guardians Can Eliminate One Contender
There’s still a few weeks left in the regular season but Cleveland can all intents and purposes turn the AL Central into a two team race with 4-5 wins over Minnesota this weekend. The White Sox are still right in the hunt as well, 3 GB from the Guardians and playing in a favorable series in Detroit this weekend.
The Guardians offense should be able to tee off on a rusty Ober on Friday night, a matchup Owen Miller and Myles Straw are both anxious for as each are hitting above .400 over the past week.
Cleveland may not need a ton of offense on Friday night (O/U 7.5) with Triston McKenzie (10-11, 3.05 ERA) on the mound. He shut out the Twins over 7.0 IP last Saturday in a 6-4 Cleveland win as -112 favorites. The right-hander has a 1.42 ERA in two September starts but has a 5.92 ERA in four starts vs. Minnesota this season.
Free September 16th Twins at Guardians Betting Pick
Minnesota needs a big win but are in a tough spot with Ober being so rusty in his return from the I.L. Just 19% of the betting public like the Twins for the upset, but Minnesota has scored 7, 6, and 3 runs vs. McKenzie this season in his three starts prior to last weekend’s shutout.
The line is relatively low for the amount of public betting on Cleveland, which at the very least suggests Minnesota gets to McKenzie a bit again.
Free Pick: Over 7.5