(This game has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues on the Minnesota Twins)
The ensuing three-game series between the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels hits its crescendo in Sunday’s finale. Minnesota’s left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ is getting the green light to close the show on the mound against Angels’ righty Alex Cobb. The Angels have been a tough team to beat at home in the early part of the season, and they’ll try to keep it that way against a Twins team already coming off consecutive series losses.
Happ still searching for his first winJ.A. Happ has seen more stops than Greyhound.
And yet, the Twins’ 38-year-old journeyman pitcher is still lending his arm on the field of battle. The Twins got absolutely destroyed in the opener by the hard-hitting Angels. If anything, they’re hopeful the veteran arm of Happ can settle things down on the mound. He has only seen no-decisions in his first two outings in a Twins uniform, while also compiling a 3.12 ERA and seven strikeouts.
Minnesota doesn’t need him to be a savior as much as they need him to be reliable. The Angels have the sort of raw hitting power that could turn the tables at the flip of a switch. Of course, a big issue for the Twins has been the bullpen. That collapse in the opener contributed to them tumbling all the way to the fourth-worst bullpen ERA (5.19) in the league.
If the defense struggles, then the offense has to be there for the Twins. They have the bats to put the Angels on their heels in the finale. The team is averaging the third-most hits (9.23) with a .265 batting average and .756 OPS. Even with the recent struggles, they are not a team people should be sleeping on.
Short stop Andrelton Simmons will remain quarantined for this game after recently testing positive for COVID-19.
Taking pressure off the batsThe Angels are clearly at their best when their hard-hitting lineup is smashing pitches into orbit, but that obviously isn’t going to be the case every game. The defensive struggles for the team does create some concerns they can only find success when their heaping a ton of runs on the scoreboard. Their pitching has to come through at some point, and players on the field have to make plays.
Alex Cobb will try to make good on those needs when stepping on the mound against Minnesota on Sunday. He’ll be facing a Twins lineup that has a tendency of leaving runs on the field, but they’re also clearly capable of blowing a game up at the snap of a finger. The team is averaging 5.57 runs per game on the road this season. So their runners clearly have a knack for making their way across home plate.
Cobb has given up at least three earned runs in each of his two outings, including Monday’s win over the Royals. He has retired 17 batters with a 4.63 ERA and 1.20 WHIP to his name. He’d love to add a second win to his 2021 campaign when closing the show against the Twins.
One thing is certain: The confidence is unwavering for the Angels. No one can blame them considering the work Justin Upton and company put on the Twins in the series opener.
It’s important to note that both Max Stassi and Juan Lagares remain on the injury list heading into the third meeting.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Twins are 1-6 in their last 7 games on grass.
- Twins are 1-6 in their last 7 overall.
- Twins are 1-5 in their last 6 against American League West.
- Twins are 1-4 in their last 5 against a team with a winning record.
- Angels are 4-1 in their last 5 home games.
- Angels are 6-2 in their last 8 home games against a team with a losing record.
- Angels are 7-3 in their last 10 games as a home favorite.
- Angels are 7-3 in their last 10 against a team with a losing record.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Angels opened the series with a bang, and it only makes sense for them to finish in the same manner.
There’s something about Angel Stadium right now that has their bats finding the mark. They are averaging the sixth-most home runs and a .159 ISO when playing at home this season. So they’re clearly packing a serious offensive punch.
One look at No. 27 with a bat in his hands is enough to make a grown man run for cover.
J.A. Happ won’t be running for cover, but he also won’t be shutting down an Angels offense that’ll catch fire again. They aren’t dropping 10 runs, but they’re going to explode enough to put the Twins on their heels. Alex Cobb will catch the counterpunch from a Twins team that won’t go away quietly in this one. But they’ll remain a step behind an Angels team capable of taking it to another gear on their home field. Grab some popcorn for this one.
The Twins have lost both games Happ has been on the mound, and Sunday won’t be any different. I’m taking the Angels to close out the show with a victory.
Full-Game Total Pick
Don’t expect the Twins to continue to be at the mercy of the Angels’ bats. They’ll come swinging back in Sunday’s finale in hopes of ending things on a positive note. They are still the eighth-ranked run-scoring offense in baseball with their best work coming on the road. The team is averaging an impressive 5.57 runs per game away from their home building. Compare that with the 6.14 runs the Angels are averaging at home and things could escalate in a hurry.
If this was a scene out of The Avengers, this would be the point when the Angels would look into the camera and confidently say, “We have a Mike Trout.” Give me the over in this one.