Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#919 Texas Rangers vs.
#920 Minnesota Twins
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 7:40pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Texas Rangers will head to Target Field on Tuesday evening for the second game of their American League series showdown against the suddenly surging Minnesota Twins.

The Rangers sit at the bottom of the AL West standings with a 13-17 overall record through 30 games. Meanwhile, Minnesota comes into this series with an 11-16 overall record, good for fourth place in the AL Central. With four wins in their last five games, the Twins finally look to be trending up following a slow start to the year. Despite their recent success, they remain six games back of the Kansas City Royals for the AL Central lead.

Can Minnesota keep its momentum going at home against the Rangers on Tuesday night?

Gibson seeks fifth straight quality start in first appearance vs. former team

Right-hander Kyle Gibson is scheduled to toe the rubber for the Rangers in Game 2 of their series at Target Field on Tuesday. Gibson will be facing a familiar foe in this matchup. He starts his career in Minnesota, where he played for the first nine years of his career. After a rough first season in Arlington, the 33-year-old has bounced back with a strong start, going 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA. Since a disastrous outing in his season debut, the Rangers’ right-hander has tossed five consecutive quality starts, allowing just four earned runs over his last 33 innings (1.09 ERA). Last time out against the Boston Red Sox, he allowed just one run on three hits in a 4-1 win.

While his strikeout rate continues to decline for the second straight year, Gibson is actually averaging the highest average fastball velocity of his career. He has found other ways to get outs, posting a ground ball rate of 53.1 percent. He’s also yet to allow a home run and his 2.57 FIP suggests that his success is poised to continue as the season wears on.

This will be Gibson’s first start at Target Field as a member of the opposition. Per Baseball Savant, current Twins are batting a healthy .340 in 54 plate appearances off of him heading into Tuesday’s matchup.

Happ off to strong start with new team

Minnesota will counter with veteran left-hander J.A. Happ, who remains effective at age 38. He comes in with a 2-0 record to go along with a 1.96 ERA The Twins’ veteran is coming off a pair of strong starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians. He’s allowed just two runs over his last 14 ⅓ frames during that span while leading the Twins to back-to-back wins.

The Twins’ lefty isn’t striking out batters at a high rate but he’s found ways to get outs and keep the ball in the yard. Happ has posted a pedestrian 5.09 K/9 strikeout rate through four stars but he’s allowed just 6.1 percent of his fly balls to turn into home runs. That, along with a lucky .154 BABIP and 86.4 percent strand rate have allowed Happ to escape with allowing just five combined runs in his first four starts.

In five career starts against the Rangers, Happ is 5-2 with a stellar 3.19 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. According to Baseball Savant, current Rangers are batting .340 in 54 plate appearances heading into Tuesday’s matchup.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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After being let go by the Twins, Gibson is going to want this game. The 33-year-old right-hander is in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career and will be up against his former team in this one. He pitched at Target Field for nine seasons, so he knows the ballpark well and should be able to have success against the Twins in this game. Meanwhile, Happ’s current BABIP and strand rate indicate that he could be due for some regression in the near future. This looks like a good spot for that to happen. Take the Ranger to come out on top in this matchup in Minnesota on Tuesday night.

Prediction: Texas Rangers +140

Full-Game Total Pick

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These two teams are projected for eight runs but that seems like a low number in this spot. The Twins offense has been trending up as of late, scoring five runs or more in four of their last five games while averaging a healthy eight runs per game during that span. With Happ due for some regression on the mound, the Rangers should be able to put together a strong offensive performance here. Look for this game to go over the projected total at Target Field, a notoriously hitter-friendly ballpark, on Tuesday night. 

Prediction: Over 8
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Written By Nick Raffoul , "Nick Raffoul"

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.