The Minnesota Twins try to snap a two-game losing streak when they face the host St. Louis Cardinals in the first of a three-game interleague series on Friday night. The first pitch for the series opener is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Minnesota dropped the last two games of a series with the Detroit Tigers, including a 17-14 setback on Wednesday. The Twins are 43-60 and in last place in the American League Central, three games behind the fourth-place Kansas City Royals.
St. Louis split a two-game series with the Cleveland Indians this week, dropping the second game 7-2. The Cardinals are 51-51 and in third place in the National League Central standings, 2½ games behind the second-place Cincinnati Reds and two games ahead of the fourth-place Chicago Cubs.
The MLB odds for the series opener have the Twins with a moneyline of +125, while the Cardinals are listed at -140. The over/under for the game has been set at 8½ runs.
Lots of Bombs
The Twins hit seven home runs in Wednesday’s loss to the Tigers. Minnesota is the fourth team since 1901 to hit seven homers in a nine-inning game and lose, becoming the first since the 2016 Chicago White Sox to accomplish the ignominious feat.
“It felt like a movie out there,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said after Wednesday’s loss. “We play a ton of baseball games, and it didn’t feel like, really, any of them that I’ve seen throughout the years, and we’ve seen some crazy ones. I’m not surprised that there’s some odd facts popping out from that effort, from what we just saw.”
First baseman Miguel Sano had two home runs in the loss, giving him 17. Sano is batting .208 with 13 doubles, 40 RBIs and 37 runs scored.
Shortstop Jorge Polanco was 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs in the contest. Polanco leads Minnesota with 51 RBIs, adding 21 doubles, a triple and 58 runs scored.
Right-hander Jose Berrios was slated to start the series opener but was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at Friday’s trade deadline. Taking his start will be rookie Griffin Jax, who is 1-1 with a 7.48 ERA in six appearances (two starts).
Jax will be pitching for the first time since July 19 at the Chicago White Sox, when he allowed one run on one hit over four innings while striking out six. He has given up seven home runs in only 21.2 innings.
The Cardinals dropped the series finale to Cleveland on Wednesday, with third baseman Nolan Arenado getting hit on the right forearm by a pitch in the fifth inning. Arenado took the field to play defense in the bottom of the inning but was removed. He is listed as day-to-day with a bone bruise.
Arenado leads the Cardinals with 27 doubles, 20 home runs and 61 RBIs in his first season with the team. He also has two triples and 49 runs scored.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt paces St. Louis with a .269 batting average. He’s hit 17 doubles, one triple and 17 home runs, driving in 55 runs and scoring a team-best 54 times.
Left-hander Wade LeBlanc will make his sixth start and 10th appearance with the Cardinals in the series opener. LeBlanc also appeared in six games with Baltimore this season, starting one.
The 36-year-old is 0-2 overall with a 4.58 ERA, striking out 24 and walking 11 over 35.1 innings. LeBlanc took a no-decision in his last start, going four innings against Cincinnati on July 23 and giving up three runs on eight hits, including a home run, while striking out five and walking one.
This will be the only series between the teams this season. St. Louis is 28-20 at home while the Twins have gone 19-30.
Minnesota is scheduled to have Bailey Ober (1-1, 5.19 ERA) making the start on Saturday, followed by Michael Pineda (4-5, 3.86) in the series finale. St. Louis will have Jake Woodford (2-2, 4.25) on the mound on Saturday but has yet to name a starter for Sunday’s contest.
St. Louis made a pair of deals at Friday’s trade deadline, acquiring a pair of left-handed starters in J.A. Happ (Minnesota) and Jon Lester (Washington).
The MLB series prices for this three-game set have the Cardinals at -150, while the Twins are listed at +120.
Twins Take Opener
Minnesota lost its edge on the mound after trading Berrios. The Twins are hitting the ball despite the recent trade of home run leader Nelson Cruz. LeBlanc and Jax each have a hard time keeping the ball in the park so there could be plenty of runs.
When making your MLB betting, take the over.
Pick: Over 8½ runs (-120)