AL Central rivals are set to square off, as the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins are set to conclude their three-game series on Wednesday at 8:10 pm ET in Minnesota. The Tigers won Tuesday night’s game 6-5 in 11 innings.
Both the Tigers and Twins find themselves sitting under the .500 mark this season, but the Twins have been one of the most disappointing teams in Major League Baseball this season and have started to sell of some of their best assets.
Last week, Minnesota decided to trade veteran designated hitter Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays and could continue to make moves to acquire future talent that will help them. While trades that include start center field Byron Buxton don’t seem evident, Buxton’s decision to decline a contract offer this week seems to put more likelihood on the centerfielder being moved to a contender. The Twins also have Jose Berrios in their starting rotation, and that could bring the Twins as big of a return package as anyone in baseball.
Meanwhile, the Tigers are more than 10 games under the .500 mark but have exceeded their expectations this season and could potentially be buyers on Friday when the trade deadline approaches. If the Tigers do decide to buy before Friday, they likely won’t be acquiring any superstar talent, but they will probably be getting pieces that could help them compete with the Chicago White Sox, who look to be in a situation to control the American League Central for the next four or five years.
Here is your preview and a pick for who you should place your dollars on for Wednesday’s game.
Pitching Matchup: Tyler Alexander vs. Kenta Maeda
Tyler Alexander is set to make just his fifth start of the season on Wednesday for the Tigers, but he does have 28 total appearances this season for Detroit. In those 28 appearances, Alexander has a 1-1 record and a 4.24 ERA in 46.2 innings pitched. Alexander has walked 11 hitters in his near 47 innings pitched and struck out 41, which equates to about 3.75 strikeouts per walk this season.
Alexander has made two starts since the All-Star Break, and he hasn’t gone four innings in either of his two starts. In his first, Alexander went 3.1 innings and gave up two earned runs and four hits in the second game of a doubleheader against the Twins on July 17.
In his second start, Alexander went 3.2 innings against the Rangers and gave up just one earned run and three hits on July 22. While Alexander has shown an ability to not blow up, he has struggled to prove that he can go a long distance in games.
For the Twins, it is going to be the Kenta Maeda. Maeda has started 16 games for the Twins this season and has a 4-4 record with a 4.63 ERA and 1.331 WHIP in 79.2 innings pitched. Maeda has struggled to pitch deep into games. In his 16 starts, Maeda is averaging less than five innings per start.
Maeda did go seven innings in his start against the Angels on July 22 and gave up three earned runs and seven hits, but he took the loss due to the Twins offense only scoring two runs.
Prior to that start, Maeda hadn’t gone more than six innings in any of his starts this season, so it will be interesting to see if Maeda is able to stack back-to-back quality starts. Maeda has made two starts against the Tigers this season and has gone a combined 11 innings and given up just two earned runs in those starts, so he has proven to have success this season against Detroit.
This isn’t an easy game to pick, but the Twins have a slight edge between the starting pitchers, so siding with Minnesota (-136) is probably the smart pick and where the safe money is on the money line. This does seem like an interesting game for the over-under because Maeda has been prone to giving up some runs, but he has been good against Detroit.
Stay away from the over-under (10.5) just because it seems difficult to project how well Maeda is going to pitch.
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