The Minnesota Twins try to win a fifth straight game when they take on the Detroit Tigers in the first of a four-game weekend series between AL Central rivals on Friday. The series opener, which is the first game of a doubleheader, is scheduled for a 2:10 pm ET first pitch at Comerica Park in Detroit.
The Twins swept a home series with the Tigers prior to the All-Star break. Minnesota is 39-50 and percentage points behind the third-place Tigers in the AL Central standings and three games ahead of the last-place Kansas City Royals.
Detroit, which is 40-51, is hoping a change in venue will change its fortunes against the Twins.
The MLB odds for the series opener have the Twins with a moneyline of -166, while the Tigers are listed at +145. The over/under for the contest is set at 7½ runs.
Making A Run?
Minnesota feels like it still has a chance to make a run, but there is talk that management may decide to be a seller at the trade deadline.
“I cannot predict the future, but I hope that’s not the case,” said designated hitter Nelson Cruz about trade rumors. “I hope they keep me around.”
Cruz has been the Twins’ best hitter and would be a tempting player to deal for any contending team. The 41-year-old is 12th with a .304 batting average, along with team-high totals in home runs (18) and RBIs (46).
Shortstop Jorge Polanco hit home runs in each of the last two games against Detroit and driving in a total of eight runs in the two wins. Polanco is batting .252 with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs while scoring a team-high 49 runs and hitting a team-best 18 doubles this season.
Minnesota will have left-hander Charlie Barnes, making his major league debut, for the series opener. The 25-year-old was scratched from his start with the Triple-A St. Paul Saints on Wednesday, so he’d be ready for his move up.
Barnes was 5-2 with a 3.88 ERA for the Saints, recording 50 strikeouts and 19 walks over 58 innings. Barnes joins Bailey Ober and Griffin Jax as Minnesota pitchers who have made their major league debut on the mound this season.
Hoping For Better
Right-hander Jose Urena will make the start in the first of the doubleheader. Urena is 2-8 with a 6.43 ERA, striking out 50 and walking 37 in 77 innings.
The 29-year-old hasn’t pitched since July 6, when he went 4 2/3 innings against Texas and allowed five runs on six hits, including a home run, while walking four and striking out three. Urena’s first start of the season came against the Twins on April 5, as he lasted just three innings and allowed five earned runs on four hits, including a home run, while walking four and striking out five.
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop comes into Friday on a six-game hit streak. The 29-year-old paces the Tigers with a .277 batting average, 16 home runs, and 52 RBIs.
Outfielder Akil Baddoo is coming off a 2-for-5 game with a home run, three RBIs, and two runs scored in Sunday’s series finale. Baddoo has shown promise at times this season, with the 22-year-old batting .271 with six home runs and 28 RBIs. He should get plenty of playing time in the second half of the season.
The Twins have dominated the season series, including taking three of the five games played at Comerica Park. How much the All-Star break will cool off the hot Minnesota lineup will be interesting to see.
Detroit hasn’t announced its starter for Friday’s nightcap but will have Wily Peralta (2-1, 2.08 ERA) and Casey Mize (5-5, 3.59) going on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The Twins had not announced any other starters for the series as of this writing.
The MLB series prices for this four-game set have the Twins listed at xxx, while the Tigers are xxx.
Twins Win Again
Minnesota had its way with Urena the first time he faced it, as have many teams when he’s on the mound this season. The Twins’ big bats should power them to a fifth straight win in the doubleheader opener.
When making your MLB betting picks, take Minnesota to win on the road.