Minnesota Twins (72-48) at Texas Rangers (60-60)
MLB: Thursday, August 15th, 2019 at 8:05 pm ET (Global Life Park in Arlington)
Line and Odds: Minnesota Twins -167/Texas Rangers +150 Over/Under: 12
Free ESPN MLB Picks Texas Rangers vs. Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins’ offense has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2019 season. Minnesota ranks 3rd in scoring production, averaging 5.72 runs per game. Because of their explosive bats, they rank 4th in the MLB in run differential. The dynamism of the Twins offense is driven by their power. They hit home runs on 4.9% of their plate appearances, ranking them #1 in the MLB in home run percentage. The Twins are also #1 in terms of slugging percentage (.498) and isolated power (.229). Minnesota gets extra base hits on 10.3% of their plate appearances and 42.8% of their hits go for extra bases (both rank #1 in baseball). Minnesota ranks 4th in batting average, hitting for an average of .269. They are 6th in on base percentage and 2nd in OPS. They’re able to match their power with the plate discipline to avoid strikeouts. Minnesota’s batting lineup ranks 4th in strikeout percentage (20.6%). As great as their batters have been this season, they do get into trouble when it comes to base running. The Twins rank 30th (out of 30 MLB teams) with a stolen base percentage of 56.8%.
While their offense has been phenomenal this season, the Twins pitching has been “good enough.” Minnesota gives up 4.66 runs per game, which ranks them 12th in the MLB in runs allowed. The strength of the Twins pitching staff is the ability to limit their opponent’s power. Minnesota’s pitchers give up home runs on 3.2% of their opponents’ plate appearances, ranking 5th in opponents’ home run rate. They allow opponents to hit extra base hits on 7.9% of their plate appearances, ranking 6th in extra base hit %. The Twins rank 4th in opponents’ isolated power and 8th in opponents’ slugging percentage. The pitching staff also limits walks, ranking 4th with a walk percentage of 7.5%. They rank 7th in WHIP and 6th in strikeout-to-walk ratio. However, it is possible to hit for average against Minnesota. The Twins rank 16th in opponents’ batting average and 17th in opponents’ BABIP. Minnesota will send Michael Pineda to the mound as today’s starting pitcher. The 30-year-old right-hander will return from the Injured List to pitch for the first time since August 1st. Pineda has pitched for 117 innings in 21 starts, this season. He has compiled a 4.15 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, and 4.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Michael Pineda gives up 8.9 hits, 1.4 home runs and 4.38 runs per 9 innings.
The Texas Rangers score 5.12 runs per game, ranking 9th in the MLB in run production. In totality, the Rangers have a top 10 offense and a unique statistical profile. One of the Rangers’ biggest strengths is their baserunning. According to Fangraphs, they rank #1 in terms of runs produced through baserunning. They lead the MLB in stolen bases per game (0.78 per game) and rank 8th in stolen base % (75.0%). Texas ranks 8th in batting average on balls in play with a BABIP of (.306). The Rangers are able to grind out hits by putting balls in play and using their speed to get on base. They also have the ability to stretch out singles and turn them into doubles and triples. 41.3% of their hits go for extra bases (3rd-highest mark in the MLB). It’s also interesting that they rank 7th in extra base hit % (9.1%) despite ranking just 15th in home run percentage (3.7%). Texas ranks 11th in isolated power (.191) and 13th in slugging percentage (.439). The biggest problem for the Rangers batting lineup is their high strikeout rate. Texas strikes out on 25.8% of their plate appearances, ranking 28th in the Majors. Overall, the Rangers rank 15th in on base plus slugging percentage (.761).
Texas knows how to score runs, but they also know how to give them up. The Rangers allow 5.24 runs per game, ranking 24th in the MLB in runs allowed. They rank 20th or worse in every major pitching and defensive category. Their opponents’ OPS of .803 ranks 26th in the Majors. Texas ranks 25th in opponents’ slugging percentage (.462) and 27th in opponents’ on base percentage (.341). Rangers’ pitchers rank 27th in WHIP (1.443) and 23rd in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.45). They are 20th in both opponents’ strikeout percentage (22.1%) and opponents’ walk percentage (9.0%). The Rangers allow opponents to hit for a batting average of .268 (25th in the MLB) and a BABIP of .315 (29th in the MLB). Opposing batters hit home runs against the Rangers in 3.7% of their plate appearances, placing the Rangers 21st in home run percentage. Rangers pitcher Pedro Payano will make his 4th career start in today’s game against the Minnesota Twins. Payano has pitched in 5 total games in his career, all taking place in the 2019 season. The 24-year-old has a 3.86 ERA, 1.714 WHIP, and 1.17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Payano has allowed 4.34 runs, 9.6 hits, and 1.0 home runs per 9 innings.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Minnesota is 2-6 SU in their last 8 games.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Minnesota’s last 6 games on the road.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 games when playing on the road against Texas.
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Texas’ last 12 games.
Texas is 2-6 SU in their last 8 games.
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Texas’ last 10 games at home.
ESPN MLB Scores Minnesota Twins vs. Texas Rangers
I’m taking the Rangers +1.5 at +105 in this matchup. Texas’ starting pitcher, Pedro Payano, does not have a great deal of experience. However, Payano has played well in limited action. I don’t think Texas will be at such a severe starting pitching advantage that usually comes with youth. We have no idea how ready Pineda is to start today, so a display of rust would not surprise me. I expect Texas to take advantage of their big time baserunning skills to get runs on the board. Today’s game will be a high-scoring affair and Texas has the ability to keep up with the Twins bats. The Rangers are too good to get this kind of number at home. I believe the value lies with Texas here.