Perception and reality seem to be different in the betting markets regarding the Minnesota Twins. The Twins have been one of the worst teams in the AL Central Division throughout the season, but you wouldn’t know it based on how often they are favored in the betting odds.
Maybe they’ll be able to reward the oddsmakers’ confidence in them on Saturday with Jose Berrios on the hill against the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels will counter with southpaw Patrick Sandoval, as the Twins are lined in the -125 range at Bovada Sportsbook with a total of 9 at Target Field.
Los Angeles Angels
Money came in on the Angels early for Friday’s game and then buyback came in on the Twins when Jared Walsh and Shohei Ohtani got an off day against left-hander J.A. Happ. The Angels have been quite strong offensively throughout the course of the season. They’ve been a top-10 offense overall and have even spent some time in the top five.
Recently, the offense has slacked off a bit, as Ohtani is showing some signs of fatigue and the absence of Mike Trout is looming large. The Angels should be getting Trout back soon as an in-house Trade Deadline acquisition, but they need Ohtani to pick it back up and also really need Anthony Rendon to remember what it’s like to be one of baseball’s most productive on-base percentage guys.
Patrick Sandoval has been a really interesting starting pitcher this season. Sandoval has a 3.86 ERA with a 3.47 xERA, but a 4.36 FIP. He’s struck out well over a batter per inning and keeps the ball on the ground nicely with a 53% GB%. He has also allowed 10 home runs in 63 innings, so when he isn’t killing worms, hitters are making him pay. At least to a degree.
The crazy thing for Sandoval is that his Hard Hit% sits at 34.5% and his Barrel% is just 6.7%. It seems like he has gotten extremely unlucky on the mistakes that he has made. There have not been a lot of them, but the ones that he has had to endure have really hurt. He does have a ton of swing-and-miss upside, though, and has pretty even splits both home and away.
The concern with betting the Angels from a full-game standpoint is that the bullpen is not very good. The Angels entered play on Friday with a 4.79 ERA and a 4.58 FIP from the relievers. It is definitely something to keep in mind when betting full games with them.
The Twins traded away Nelson Cruz a couple of days ago and waved the white flag on the season. It will be interesting to see who else gets moved, as Minnesota doesn’t seem to have a lot of trade currency. Andrelton Simmons is an impending free agent having an awful offensive season. Some relievers could be on the move. Maybe a team wants Michael Pineda or J.A. Happ.
The big domino to fall was Cruz, but he is a big domino for an offense that has been going in reverse a little bit of late. Entering Friday’s action, the Twins were 18th in wOBA over the last 30 days. That was with Cruz and now they don’t have the big bopper in the middle of the order. The Twins have not had nearly as much success on their balls in play of late, but are still hitting for a good bit of power.
For the full season, the Twins have fallen down to 12th in wOBA. The offense has been the only saving grace for the team this season, but you see how well that has done for them. The Twins are bordering on being a last-place team and have a bad pitching staff. They are also one of the worst defensive teams in baseball according to the all-encompassing Def metric at FanGraphs.
We’ll see if Jose Berrios can overcome those things on Saturday. The 27-year-old right-hander has a 3.69 ERA with a 3.64 FIP during what has been a solid season. Berrios has done well with his stats across the board, including more than a strikeout per inning and a return to his 2018-19 BB% after a bit of a spike last season. Berrios has worked 114.2 innings over 19 starts.
While the full-season numbers are pretty good for Berrios, he has a 4.11 ERA in his last eight starts, which goes back to early June when MLB started cracking down on foreign substances. Berrios will have to keep giving the Twins length to keep the bullpen at bay. Minnesota’s bullpen has a 4.84 ERA and a 4.45 FIP this season.
Angels vs. Twins Free Pick
Sportsbooks aren’t typically off 25-30 cents on MLB lines, but it is really hard to say that the right team is favored here. The Angels have proven to be a rather untrustworthy bunch despite a good offense, but the Twins have taken that to another level this season in their own right. Getting the Angels at a plus-money price with a solid starter in Sandoval and a full lineup back together against the righty Berrios looks like a good bet.
Pick: Los Angeles Angels