Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics Pick
Minnesota Twins (53-30) at Oakland Athletics (46-39)
When: 10 p.m., Tuesday, July 2
Where: RingCentral Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
Moneyline: MIN -1110/OAK +110 Bookmaker)
Runline: Twins -1.5/A’s +1.5
Starting Pitchers: Jake Odorizzi (10-3, 2.73 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) vs. Daniel Mengden (2-1, 4.03 ERA, 1.48 WHIP)
The Athletics come in off a stretch where they won five games out of six at St. Louis and the Angels, and in fact, gave themselves a winning record on the road with that stretch. Now, can the A’s turn that success on the road into a springboard at home? The last homestand was acceptable at 6-4, but on the one before that, the A’s gave away any good they did in a sweep of Seattle by dropping five straight to Los Angeles and Houston. One of the reasons the A’s usually do well on the road is that their home field is one of the worst in the majors, making it relatively easy for them to handle the problems that come with going on the road. They’ve got to take that mindset and dominate on this home stretch to keep pace with the rest of the AL West.
Questions of Power
How good are the Twins, really? Yes, they’re 53-30 and comfortably ahead in the AL Central. But there are several questions about whether this team is really that good or whether it’s a product of a weak schedule. There are five teams in the American League that have lost at least 50 games this season: Baltimore, Detroit, Kansas City, Seattle, and Toronto. The Twins are 27-11 against that quintet and a much more pedestrian 26-19 against the rest of the league. While Minnesota can only play the teams on its schedule, the reality is that the Orioles, Mariners and Blue Jays don’t show up on the rest of the slate for the Twins. Meanwhile, the Athletics, Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees all make appearances, meaning that the Twins should prove pretty quickly if they’re a contender or not. This series is when they have to start showing it.
Will Jake Break?
Jake Odorizzi has had a fantastic first half of the season for Minnesota. Most nights, he gives his team a reasonable chance to win, and he’s been the winning pitcher in seven of his past 10 starts, with two no-decisions also going the Twins’ way. But there’s a concern that Odorizzi might be showing signs of cooling off after his past three starts. In his previous three trips to the mound, he’s given up four home runs and a combined 11 earned runs, and while that’s not a massive cause for alarm, it pales in comparison to what he did last month when he shut out five opponents and held a sixth to just one run. This could be just a regression to the mean, but with the Twins facing tougher opponents, even a regression to the mean could cause serious problems.
The teams haven’t met this season, but they’re about to get pretty familiar with each other, meeting seven times in the next three weeks. When they do get familiar with each other, it hasn’t tended to go well for the Twins: they’ve not won the season series since 2015 and have lost 10 of their last 12 in Oakland.
- The Twins have won 12 of Odorizzi’s past 13 starts.
- The Twins are 7-1 in their past eight Tuesday games.
- The Athletics have won six of Mengden’s past seven starts.
- The Athletics have won five of their past six.
- The under is 5-1-1 in Odorizzi’s past seven Tuesday starts.
- The under is 5-1 in the teams’ past six meetings.
The heat wave gripping the east is absent in northern California, where temperatures project at 60 degrees.
The Twins have been the surprise of the American League this year, but it seems like things are about to turn in the opposite direction for them. They’ve been playing a large number of bad teams, and when they step it up and play better teams, such as the mediocre White Sox, they’ve not seen results. Chicago took two of three from Minnesota to start this trip, and the Twins are facing a hot opponent who needs this series.
Minnesota, on the other hand, is still a bad week or two away from being threatened by Cleveland. The pressure isn’t there yet, and in a matchup of two talented teams, you want the one that has more to lose. That’s the Athletics, and I’ll take them as the slight home dog to get the job done.