Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers Preview and Pick

Minnesota Twins (51-41) +135, 9 at Detroit Tigers (46-45), 7 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The Minnesota Twins have been closely trailing the Chicago White Sox in the American League’s Central Division for some time now. And the Twins and the Sox are about to be joined by the Detroit Tigers, who are rallying after that disastrous start to this season.

Thus is the setting as Minnesota and Detroit play game two of a four-game weekend series Friday night at Comerica Park.

Baseball bookmakers are listing the Tigers and starting pitcher Armando Gallaraga (7-2, 3.27, 1.16 WHIP) as 145 home favorites for Friday’s game, with a total of 9, while the Twins and Glen Perkins (5-2, 4.27, 1.48) are getting +135 as road underdogs.

Minnesota rallied from 6-2 deficit to take the opener of this series Thursday night 7-6 in 11 innings. A key error by Detroit RF Matt Joyce helped the Twins tie the game in the 9th, and Joe Nathan pitched out of a one-out bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning. Justin Morneau then homered in the 11th for the victory, their 17th in their last 22 games.

Despite the loss, the Tigers have won 22 of their last 31 games to inch over the .500 mark.

So going into this weekend’s action, the last series of play before the All-Star break, the Twins are in second place in the AL Central, 2 games back of the first-place White Sox, while Detroit lurks in third place, seven games out of first.

Minnesota is 19-23 on the road this year, 31-34 as underdogs, and a profitable 59-33 vs. the run line.

Detroit is 27-18 at home this season, 35-22 as favorites, and 44-47 vs. the run line.

The Twins have taken eight of 12 games from the Tigers so far this season, with the totals going 8-4, as the games have averaged a healthy 11.8 total runs per.

Last year, it was Detroit that held the upper hand in this series, taking 12 of 18 games from Minnesota, with the totals going 7-10-1, as the games averaging 8.6 total runs per.

Over his last three starts, including a quality outing vs. Cleveland last Sunday, Perkins has allowed eight ER and 24 baserunners (hits + walks) in 18 1/3 IP. Minnesota is 75 in Perkins’ starts this year, the totals also 7-5.

In his two starts this year vs. the Tigers, lefty Perkins has allowed three ER and 17 BR in 14 IP.

Over his last three starts, including a decent performance vs. Seattle last Saturday, Gallaraga has given up eight ER and 26 BR in 16 2/3 IP. Detroit is 113 in Gallaraga’s starts this year, the totals 5-8.

Gallaraga has started three games this year vs. the Twins, allowing 10 ER and 30 BR in 18 IP.

Offensively, Minnesota ranks 4th in the majors this season in team BA at .279, 11th in team OBP at .336, 17th in team slugging at .409, but 5th in scoring at 4.9 runs per game.

Detroit ranks 5th in batting at .273, 5th in OBP at .340, 8th in slugging at .434, and 10th in scoring at 4.8 RPG.

Over the last five games, including a couple of real bad outings vs. Boston this week, the Minnesota bullpen has allowed 17 ER and 31 BR in 15 1/3 IP.

The Detroit pen, over its last five games, has given up six ER and 26 BR in 19 1/3 IP.

The totals are 50-41 in Twins games this year, 40-45 in Tigers games, and 23-19 in games played at Comerica Park, which are averaging 10.8 total runs per this season, 2nd-most among all ML ballparks.

Zman’s Pick: No opinion.