Milwaukee Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins – Seth McClung vs. Nick Blackburn

Milwaukee Brewers (43-35) +110, 8 1/2 at Minnesota Twins (43-36), 8:10 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of

Two hot border rivals hook up when the Milwaukee Brewers hit the Twin Cities to take on the Minnesota Twins for the opener of a three-game inter-league series Friday night.

Sportsbooks are listing Minnesota and starting pitcher Nick Blackburn (6-4, 3.68) as -120 home favorites for Friday’s game, with a total of 8 1/2, while Milwaukee and Seth McClung (5-3, 3.79) are getting +110 as road underdogs.

Minnesota just swept three games in San Diego, and has now won nine straight, outscoring opponents 56-19, to pull within a half-game of the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

The Brewers, meanwhile, just took two of three games in Atlanta, and have won eight of their last ten. Going into this weekend’s action, Milwaukee sits in third place in the NL Central, 5 1/2 games back of the division-leading Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers had Thursday off, while the Twins played in San Diego Thursday evening, Minnesota time, then flew home.

These two teams met in Milwaukee two weeks ago, with the Twins taking two of three from the Brewers. And two of the games went over their totals.

Last year, these two teams split six games, with the totals going 4-2, as the games averaged 11.2 total runs per.

Milwaukee is 18-22 on the road this year, 15-13 as underdogs, and 36-42 vs. the run line.

Minnesota is 25-16 at home this season, 14-7 as favorites, and 49-30 vs. the run line.

McClung has pitched well since grabbing a spot in the starting rotation about a month ago. Over his last three starts, including a good outing vs. Baltimore last Saturday, McClung has allowed six ER and 16 baserunners (hits + walks) in 18 2/3 IP. The Brewers are 4-2 in McClung’s starts this year, the totals a perfect 0-6.

And McClung picked up a win when he held the Twins to two runs on four hits in six innings of a 4-2 Milwaukee victory 12 days ago.

Over his last three starts, including a seven-inning, three-hit stint vs. Arizona last Saturday, Blackburn has given up 10 ER and 19 BR in 17 IP. Minnesota is 8-7 in Blackburn’s starts this year, the totals 7-8.

And Blackburn owns a 2.20 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 45 IP at the Metrodome this year.

This will be Blackburn’s first-ever start vs. the Brewers.

Milwaukee ranks 24th in the majors in team batting this season at .252, 20th in team OBP at .323, 8th in team slugging at .430, and is averaging 4.5 runs per game.

Minnesota ranks 6th in batting at .272, 16th in OBP at .327, 19th in slugging at .396, and is averaging 4.8 RPG.

Four of the Brewers’ last five games have stayed under their totals, as Milwaukee pitching has allowed just 13 runs over that span.

Twins pitching has been stingy lately, too, giving up just 23 runs over their last 10 games.

Over its last five games, the Milwaukee bullpen has allowed four ER and 19 BR in 17 2/3 innings of work. And they got the day off Monday when Ben Sheets threw a complete game in Atlanta.

Over its last five games, the Minnesota pen has kept opponents scoreless on nine BR in 14 innings of work.

On the season, the totals are 31-45 in Brewers games, 43-36 in Twins games, and 21-20 in games played at the Metrodome, which are averaging 8.8 total run per this year.