Two teams with playoff aspirations face off at Oakland Coliseum Tuesday as the Minnesota Twins visit the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a three-game series. The moneyline on this game has Minnesota -115.
Twins Comfortably On Top
The Minnesota Twins have a comfortable lead in the American League Central, thanks in part to a 47-22 start. However, they have lost eight of their last 14, and have a 53-30 record heading into play Tuesday. Even with the struggles, the Twins own an eight-game lead over Cleveland and a 13-game lead over Chicago in the AL Central.
They will send 10-game winner and AL All-Star Jake Odorizzi to the mound to face the Athletics. Odorizzi is second in the AL with his 10 wins to go along with three losses. He has a 2.73 ERA and has struck out 94 hitters in 85 2/3 innings pitched. Odorizzi has pitched in Oakland three times prior and has a 1-0 record with a 1.29 ERA. Overall against the A’s, he is 1-3 with a 2.95 ERA.
Shortstop Jorge Polanco is having a fine season for the Twins. He is hitting .320, 36 points higher than his career average and third-best in the American League. Leftfielder Eddie Rosario is hitting .282 with 20 home runs and 60 RBI, and rightfielder Max Kepler is hitting .269 with 21 home runs and 53 RBI for a Twins team that leads the American League in hitting with a .270 team batting average.
A’s Eyeing Playoffs
Oakland won five of six on the road at the expense of the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels last week and has gone 10-3 since being at 36-36 on June 16. They are now 46-39 on the season, seven games behind division-leading Houston, and a half game behind Texas for the second Wild Card.
They will send right-hander Daniel Mengden to the mound in the series opener. Mengden, who has never faced the Twins, has a record of 7-3 against teams he has faced just once in his career. This season, he is 2-1 with a 4.03 ERA. He threw six scoreless innings against the Cardinals after being called up from the minors last Wednesday.
Oakland’s offense is led by shortstop Marcus Semien’s .272 batting average and .353 on-base percentage. Third baseman Matt Chapman is up to .270 with 21 home runs and 52 RBI, although he is 0-for-5 with three strikeouts lifetime against Odorizzi. The A’s offense is in the middle of the pack with a team batting average of .247.
Odorizzi has been very good in his career against Oakland. Don’t expect that to change. The Twins have a sour taste in their mouths after losing two of three to the White Sox over the weekend, and they will be looking to get back on track. Expect them to do so, and take the Twins in this one.