Rangers vs. Twins, 8-3-2017 – Expert Prediction

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Texas Rangers (50-56; 49-55-2 O/U) vs.  Minnesota Twins (50-54; 45-51-8 O/U)

MLB: Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 8:10pm EST

Line: Minnesota -128/Texas +118

Total: 10
Bet at 5dimes

The Minnesota Twins will host the Texas Rangers as the clubs kick off a four game series Thursday night from Target Field. The Rangers will give the nod to 29-year old right-hander A.J. Griffin, and the Twins will counter with 24-year old left-hander Adalberto Mejia. The Twins took two of three over the Rangers early in the season.

Griffin Makes Long-Awaited Return to Action

A.J. Griffin will make his ninth start of the season, and first since late May as he returns from a long stint on the DL. Griffin last started on May 26th and conceded four runs in 1.1 innings to the Blue Jays. The veteran right-hander was not looking good before his injury, posting a poor 5.77 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP to go with a 4-2 record in 39 innings pitched on the season. He has posted mixed results in his three career starts against the Twins, allowing ten runs in 18 innings to go with a 2-1 record. Nelson Cruz is 3 for 16 against Griffin, while Robinson Cano is 5 for 12 with one homer, and Kyle Seager is 4 for 18. Rougned Odor is swinging a hot bat, smashing seven home runs along with 13 RBI’s over his last nine games. The 23-year old has been inconsistent at times, and is currently hitting .224 with 24 home runs and 53 RBI’s on the season. Odor is 3 for 10 with three RBI’s against the Twins this season.

The Rangers are averaging a solid 4.93 runs per game, good for seventh in the Majors, and own a .239 team batting average. The Texas pitching has been mediocre, registering a 4.60 team ERA, positioning them 18th in the Major Leagues.

Mejia Faces Rangers for First Time of Career

Adalberto Mejia will take the mound for the 17th time of the season, aiming for win number five. Mejia pitched well in his previous performance, holding the A’s to only two runs in five innings in his third straight no decision. The young right-hander is having a solid rookie campaign, allowing three or fewer runs in three consecutive starts and now owns a 4.07 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP to go with a 4-4 record in 79.2 innings pitched. Mejia has had some issues with his command, issuing a total of 36 walks this season. Eduardo Escobar is heating up at the plate for the Twins, collecting five RBI’s over his last seven games. The 28-year old third baseman has been inconsistent at times and is currently hitting .271 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI’s. Escobar is 1 for 4 with two RBI’s against the Rangers this season.

The Twins are currently averaging 4.51 runs per game, ranking them 20th in the Majors, and are hitting .250 as a team. The Minnesota pitching is struggling, now carrying a 4.86 team ERA, placing them down at 26th in the Major Leagues.

Trends:

The Texas Rangers are:

  • 2-10 in their last 12 games against a team with a losing record.
  • 1-7 in their last 8 games against a starter with a WHIP above 1.30.
  • 1-5 in their last 6 games against a left-handed starter.

The Minnesota Twins are:

  • 4-1 in Mejia’s last 5 starts in the first game of a series.
  • 4-1 in their last 5 games against the Rangers.

I am siding with the Twins in this contest. Mejia has been outstanding, posting a stifling 2.54 ERA over his last seven starts, and he has only allowed two home runs in those seven starts, plus the Rangers are not productive against left-handed pitching, so I am confident siding with Mejia. In addition, Griffin hasn’t pitched in the Majors since late May, and he struggled in his rehab starts, plus he also posted a 5.77 ERA in his eight starts with the Rangers this season.

Pick: Minnesota Twins*