Minnesota has one of its best starting pitchers fit to play in this fixture, but unfortunately for the hosts, so do the Rangers. Texas comes visiting and Yu Darvish will take the mound tonight, making this match a true pitchers’ duel that could go either way. Minnesota is having a hard time in the Central Division, with the fewest victories of all 5 teams, but they lost fewer games than Cleveland.
Home pitch advantage helped them stay afloat but their record at Target Field reads 12-12, which is hardly impressive by any standards. Winning games was particularly difficult of late and the top priority is to end the four game losing streak. It all began by this time last week, when Minnesota faced the Giants on the road and they were unable to score more than two goals per match in the entire series. By comparison, San Francisco steamrolled past them and wrapped the series up with an emphatic 8-1 win.
The opening match against the Rangers didn’t go too well either and there is a good chance for the Twins to suffer another sweep. Texas has the kind of players that can take advantage of a struggling bullpen and this is exactly what Minnesota needs to fix quickly. Even when the starting pitchers held their ground and prevented opponents from taking an early lead, the relievers squandered everything.
Phil Hughes knows that he will need to pitch perfectly and last at least 7 innings for his team to have a fighting chance against the Rangers. This is easier said than done, not because Phil doesn’t have what it takes to pitch for a full 7 innings or even more. The real reason for concern has to do with Texas’ potent offensive lineup and their terrific form. The opening game was just a taste of what might happen in the next two games and the worst part is that the visitors won’t even need that many runs to win.
Yu Darvish won 4 out of 6 decision this season and his ERA is a bit over 2.00, which means that his teammates will probably need to score 3 runs to win the match. Add to this the bullpen issues that are unlikely to go away overnight and it is obvious why the Twins are so concerned.
Punters have two choices for this match, one being to back the visiting team to win outright, the other to bet on more than 6.5 runs to be scored. The starting pitchers are good, but the relievers are not to be fully trusted and bookies have overextended a bit by offering such big odds for a total of 7 runs or more.