By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
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Money Line: MIN +105 | CWS -112
Run Line: MIN +1.5 (-197) | CWS -1.5 (+175)
Total: 7.5 (O -103, U -112)
First Pitch: 7:10 CDT | Guaranteed Rate Field | Chicago, IL
Pitching Matchup: Kenta Maeda (2-2, 5.02 ERA) vs. Dylan Cease (2-0, 2.37 ERA)
It was a great weekend to be a White Sox fan with the offense supplying 21 runs during the three game sweep of the Royals and the pitching staff allowing just 4 runs. The Twins split a two-game series (one rainout) with the Tigers in Motown over the weekend. They’ll finish up their current roadtrip with three games in Chicago before hosting the A’s and Sox for three games each next week. Let’s dive into each team’s form and get some action locked in for this much anticipated A.L. Central matchup!
Minnesota Twins (12-20)
Kenta Maeda was scheduled for Sunday’s rubber match with the Tigers before it was rained out. With the postponement, he was pushed back to tonight’s contest and that’s probably for the best for Minnesota faithful as he has great numbers against the White Sox. The Southsiders only slash .179/.292/.258 against the righty out of Osaka, Japan. Maeda is coming off of a 5.1 inning outing against the Rangers in which he allowed zero runs and punched out eight Texas hitters. That was his first scoreless outing of the season, which Twins fans hope he continues considering he gave up 16 earned runs over his first five starts. For those unfamiliar with Kenta, he throws a lot of off speed stuff. So far in 2021, he’s relied on a slider the most at 42.6%, a split finger at 25.8%, a 4-seam fastball at 21.5%, and finally a sinker 7.5% of the time.
The Twins offense continues to be a strength for them, as it has been for the past few seasons. They’re eighth in team batting average at .242, 15th in OBP at .312, and fourth in slugging percentage at .425. They’ve amassed 44 bombs, which ranks ninth in the majors and the power surge is courtesy of Byron Buxton (9 HR), Nelson Cruz (8), and Mitch Garver (6). Unfortunately for Minnesota, they’ll be without the electric Buxton for a few weeks (as of May 7th) with a Grade 2 strain of the hip. Luis Arraez has been out as well with a concussion and he just resumed light baseball activities so maybe expect a return from him later this weekend.
Chicago White Sox (19-13)
Dylan Cease has been exceptional to start the season. He didn’t give up a single run over his last two starts, including a CGSO (7 innings) against the Tigers back on April 29th. That’s a 13 inning stretch for the young righty, and that’s helped him keep his ERA down under 2.50. This is an interesting matchup though as he hasn’t fared well against the Twins in his career. Minnesota slashes .310/.417/.548 against the right-handed hurler out of Milton, Georgia. As always with Dylan, if he can control his stuff, he’ll be fine. He’s walked at three hitters in five out of six outings this season but has been able to limit the homers, which he’s been prone to in the past. Keeping free passes to a minimum and the ball in the yard will be a huge factor in his success (or lack thereof) tonight against Minnesota.
Like I mentioned above, the White Sox offense was pretty dependable over the weekend. They amassed 30 runs over the five-game road trip and they’ll look to keep the run production active tonight. They own the fourth best team batting average (.255), second ranked OBP (.339), and they’re sixth in runs scored during the young season (164). As I’ve mentioned before, it’s amazing that this team is winning without using the longball. They’ve only launched 27 on the season which is 28th in the league. So being able to manufacture runs by working counts and hitting the ball where fielders aren’t is a huge thing to have in the arsenal – especially without Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert.
Final Analysis & Best Bet
From a betting standpoint, we picked up a significant amount on Saturday night when we nailed both picks and went 2-0 (both two-unit plays). We cashed the Sox ML (-155) against the Royals and hit the over on Chicago runs (4.5, -130) in the first inning. So we’re looking to stay hot, but nothing really pops out to me initially. This is a tough one considering how well each of the offenses have performed this year combined with the injuries to both teams. Not to mention that each of the pitchers are performing the opposite of their head to head trends (i.e Cease good overall, poor history against the Twinkies).
All things considered, I’m going to take the over 7.5 (-103) tonight for a 1.5 units. Although Cease has been spectacular this season, he has a habit of walking hitters. And with Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, and Jorge Polanco combining to go 9-18 with a homerun and a double off of Dylan, he could find himself in trouble if he’s handing out free passes. On the flip side, Maeda has struggled mightily away from home this season. He’s posted a 6.63 ERA away from Target Field and given up seven homers over 19.0 innings. While the White Sox don’t have good numbers against Maeda, if they can work counts deep and get an exit around the 5th inning, I’ll be feeling really good about this one. Minnesota’s bullpen is tied for the fifth worst bullpen ERA (4.92) this season with a WHIP at 1.38 (10th worst). Both of these teams can mash, so I think we’re in for some runs tonight. I don’t think we shatter the over, but I feel like we’ll see about nine runs at the G-Spot tonight. I’ll say 5-4 in favor of the Twins (although I’ll be rooting for the Sox of course).
Trent’s MLB Betting Record
2021 MLB Season: 17-16 (-2.80 units). A $100 bettor is down $279.79 this MLB szn.