Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#913 Toronto Blue Jays 8.5 vs.
#914 Minnesota Twins -135
Monday, April 15, 2019 at 7:40pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of teams from the American League kick off an early week series in the Twin Cities. The Toronto Blue Jays are on the road as they open a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins Monday night. Toronto dropped the rubber game of their home set with the Rays, losing 8-4 on Sunday afternoon. Minnesota swept a weather-shortened home set with the Tigers, prevailing 6-4 in the finale of that series Sunday afternoon. The Twins took four of the six meetings between the teams last season though the Blue Jays took two of three here.

 

Toronto Blue Jays Looking to Get Back in Win Column

Toronto lost for the seventh time in their last nine games as they were knocked off in the rubber game of their series with Tampa Bay Sunday afternoon. The Blue Jays enter this contest seven games behind the Rays for the top spot in the AL East race. Toronto got three hits from Billy McKinney (two runs, two RBI) while Freddy Galvis (run, two RBI) added two in the loss. Galvis (his fifth) and McKinney (his first) each homered in the contest. Marcus Stroman (0-3) took the loss on the mound as he allowed three runs (none earned) on three hits with four walks and five strikeouts over four innings.

Matt Shoemaker makes his fourth start of the year for the Blue Jays looking to maintain his strong start. He comes in 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA, a 0.712 WHIP, five walks and 19 strikeouts over 19.2 innings of work this season. Shoemaker comes in off a win in his last start, which came on the road against Boston Tuesday night. He threw 5.2 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in a 7-5 Toronto victory. Shoemaker makes his fifth career start against the Twins in this contest. He is 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP, 11 walks and 18 strikeouts over 20 innings of work. Shoemaker is 0-1 with an 8.22 ERA, a 2.217 WHIP, five walks and three strikeouts over 7.2 innings in two career starts at Target Field.

Minnesota Twins Trying to Maintain AL Central Edge

Minnesota swept a weekend set that was shortened to two games by weather as they prevailed Sunday afternoon. The Twins enter this one 1.5 games ahead of the Indians and Tigers in the AL Central race. Minnesota got three hits from Eddie Rosario (two runs, two RBI) while Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz (run), Mitch Garver (run) and Byron Buxton (RBI) each had two. Rosario (his third) and C.J. Cron (his first) each homered in the victory. Jose Berrios (2-1) picked up the win on the mound as he allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts over 6.2 innings. Trevor Hildenberger struck out the only two hitters he faced, with the bases loaded, for his first save.

Martin Perez is expected to get the ball for his fourth appearance and first start of the season for the Twins here. He is 1-0 with a 7.56 ERA, a 2.40 WHIP, nine walks and 12 strikeouts over 8.1 innings of work on the year. Perez didn’t factor in the decision in his last outing, which came in relief against the Mets on the road Wednesday. He threw two innings, allowing three runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in a 9-6 Twins defeat. Perez logs his fifth career start against the Blue Jays in this contest. He is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA, a 1.641 WHIP, 12 walks and 12 strikeouts over 21.1 innings of work. Perez is 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA, a 1.761 WHIP, eight walks and 12 strikeouts over 15.1 innings in three career appearances, two starts, at Target Field.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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While the Twins have been the better team in the early going of the season, one has to be a bit concerned about Perez taking the mound in a start. He has had control problems in the early going, issuing more than a walk per inning on the young season. While his strikeouts are up, you can’t sport a 2.40 WHIP and have people feel confident in your ability to put together a solid outing. Shoemaker has been terrific so far and has three of Toronto’s five wins. Give the Blue Jays the upper hand behind their starting pitcher in this contest.

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays +113

Full-Game Total Pick

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Toronto’s bats have been a problem in the opening couple weeks of the season. The Blue Jays are averaging only 3.5 runs per game this season while hitting a collective .203 so far. That has overshadowed some pretty solid pitching for them this season. Toronto gets a chance to take advantage of a mediocre pitcher in Perez, who has issued nine walks already this season. The Twins have been terrific at the plate, averaging 5.42 runs per game while hitting .279 as a team. Can Minnesota hit enough to make up for Perez’s issues on the mound and get the win here?

The under is 8-1 in the Blue Jays’ last 9 vs. American League Central teams, 6-1 in their last 7 Monday games and 5-1-1 in their last 7 games vs. a left-handed starter. Minnesota has seen the under go 6-2-1 in their last 9 home games vs. a right-handed starter and 3-1-1 in their last 5 home games. Shoemaker continues his strong start and helps keep this one under the total even if the Blue Jays get some offense against Perez.

Prediction: Under 8.5

First Five Innings Side Pick

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Toronto hasn’t been great offensively but they are facing a guy in Perez that is wild. He gives up a lot of free passes and when he is in the strike zone, he is hittable. Shoemaker has been fantastic in his first three starts after signing as a free agent in the offseason. If he can keep the Twins in check, the Blue Jays should have their chances of taking advantage of Perez’s ineffectiveness. Look for Toronto to have the upper hand after five innings in this one.

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays +107

First Five Innings Total Bet

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Perez is sporting some dismal peripherals after his first three outings. Opposing hitters are posting a .314/.444/.371 line against him this season and they have a staggering .458 average on balls in play. Factor in that 20 of the 45 hitters that he’s faced have reached base and that one of the outs was a sacrifice fly and you have a less than stellar resume. This may be Toronto’s best chance to show that they have the ability to hit major league pitching. The Blue Jays take advantage of Perez and that helps push this over the number halfway home.

Prediction: Over 4.5

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.