The Minnesota Twins will host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday for the final game of their three-game series. The Twins won the opener on Friday 2-0 as a -153 moneyline favorite, but Pittsburgh bounced back with a 6-2 win as a +186 underdog on Saturday.
In 2020, the Twins won three of the four games against the Pirates but split two games apiece on the run line.
Pirates bouncing back from slow startNot much is expected from the Pirates this season. According to BetMGM, the Pirates have the longest World Series odds of any team in baseball at 250/1. After starting the season 1-6, the Pirates have quickly made a solid turnaround, winning nine of their last 14 games heading into Sunday. With the win over Minnesota on Saturday, the Pirates are 10-11 overall.
The Pirates are 24th in baseball, averaging 3.7 runs per game, and 19th batting .224 as a team. Third basemen Colin Moran is tied for the team lead with four homers and has a club-best 15 RBI. Erik Gonzalez is second on the team with 12 RBI.
Pittsburgh has not yet announced Sunday's starter but as a team own a 4.63 ERA. Overall the bullpen has been solid, ranking 10th with a 3.64 ERA.
Nelson Cruz still an astonishing player at 40After starting the season off strong, the Twins have only won two of their last 12 games and are fourth in the AL Central with a 7-12 record. Minnesota did end its four-game losing streak on Friday, knocking off Pittsburgh 2-0. Both Twins runs came on solo homers, but the No. 8 and 9 hitters in the order. Willians Astudillo homered in the third inning, and Jake Cave went deep in the fifth inning; it was the first home run of the season for both players.
Minnesota is now fifth in MLB, batting .250, and 14th averaging 4.5 runs per game. The ageless designated hitter Nelson Cruz leads the team with a .352 average, six home runs, 14 RBI, and a 1.116 OPS.
Starting for the Twins on Saturday is expected to be Matt Shoemaker. Shoemakers went 0-1 with a 4.71 ERA, and 1.08 WHIP in six starts with Toronto last season. This year with Minnesota, Shoemaker is 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. The 34-year old veteran broke into the big leagues back in 2013 but will be facing Pittsburgh for the first in his career.
- Pirates are 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Pirates are 4-0 in their last 4 during game 3 of a series.
- Twins are 1-5 in their last 6 games
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
For a team expected to be the worst in baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been solid this season. Pittsburgh has played 18 of its first 21 games this season against teams that made the postseason in 2020. The Twins are the much better team on paper, but they haven't been performing well lately. The Twins have lost Shoemaker's last two starts, and he has not pitched well overall in four of the last five seasons. The Pirates have upside as a dog on Sunday, and I will take a shot with them.
Full-Game Total Pick
So often, you see a team not score many runs when their ace is on the mound, while other times, you see an offense show up when they know they have a starter going who tends to give up plenty of runs. With Matt Shoemaker pitching on Sunday, I expect Minnesota to show up offensively. The Twins have allowed at least six innings in each of Shoemaker's starts, which all went over the total. Shoemaker has also already allowed five home runs in just 14 1/3 innings so far this year. I am taking the over.