Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#3915 Los Angeles Angels vs.
#3916 Minnesota Twins
Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 8:10pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Los Angeles Angels will travel to Target Field on Thursday night for the opening game of their four-game weekend series versus the Minnesota Twins.

The Halos are trying to climb back to the .500-mark after dropping three in a row. Los Angeles enters play on Wednesday in fourth place in the AL West standings with a 46-48 overall record, 11 games back of the division-leading Houston Astros. Meanwhile, the Twins are 18 games back of the pace in the AL Central with a 40-55 mark in 95 contests.

Can the Angels bounce back with a win on the road in Minnesota on Thursday night?

Heaney searching for stuff after loss vs. Seattle

Los Angeles is scheduled to turn to right-hander Andrew Heaney, who will search for better results in his second start since the All-Star Break. In his last start, the 30-year-old surrendered four runs on six hits and lasted just four innings in a loss versus the Seattle Mariners. Heaney enters with a 5-7 overall record and a 5.56 ERA in 16 starts and he’s in the midst of a rough stretch. Over his last four starts, he is 1-3 with a 9.33 ERA.

Despite poor results, there are signs that the Angels’ right-hander has pitched better than his overall numbers might suggest this season. He’s struck out 10.89 batters and walked just 2.89 batters per nine innings of work. Heaney has also been a victim of some bad luck. He’s given up a .332 BABIP and stranded just 67.0 percent of his baserunners through 81 innings of work.

Heaney’s lone start of the season against the Twins came back on April 16 when he gave up just two runs in 5 ⅓ innings of work.

The Angels’ righty has yet to record a decision in two career outings versus Minnesota. In two career starts against the Twins, he has posted a 3.18 ERA in 11 ⅓ combined frames. According to Baseball Savant, Heaney has held the current Twins’ roster to a .257 batting average in 40 plate appearances coming into Thursday’s contest.

Maeda looking for better results versus Los Angeles

The Twins will open the series with veteran right-hander Kenta Maeda for his second start of the season half. The 33-year-old comes in with a 4-3 overall record to go along with a career-worst 4.71 ERA in 15 starts but he’s been turning things around as of late. Over his last three outings, the Twins’ right-hander has allowed just three earned runs in 16 combined frames (1.69 ERA). All three of those runs came in Maeda’s last start when he escaped with a no-decision against the Detroit Tigers after striking out eight batters and walking just one in five innings of work.

While his overall numbers might not be up to par, Maeda has posted solid peripherals in 2021. He has fanned 9.78 batters and walked just 2.97 batters per nine innings of work. However, his .323 BABIP and 68.5 percent strand rate both represent the worst marks of his six-year MLB career.

Maeda has made six career appearances (five starts) against the Angels in his career, finishing 2-3 with a 4.56 ERA in those matchups. Per Baseball Savant, current Halos hitters are batting a slim .158 in 22 plate appearances off of the Twins’ veteran, who has them out a healthy 31.8 percent of the time.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Getting the Angels at plus-money should feel like a bargain in this spot against the lowly Twins. Maeda is laying some juice at home here after a string of strong outings but those matchups came against the Tigers and Royals. The Halos are due for some regression at the dish after totaling just one run over their previous two contests. Heaney is also due for a bounce-back outing after giving up at least three earned runs in each of his last five starts. Take Los Angeles to come out on top in the first game of this four-game weekend series on the road at Target Field on Thursday night.

Prediction: Los Angeles Angels +120

Full-Game Total Pick

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This game is projected for nine runs, which feels a bit too high here. Both pitchers have outpitched their results this season, so I expect runs to be hard to come by for both teams while the starters are in the game. Maeda has surrendered three earned runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts. The Angels’ offense has also been stagnant as of late, scoring a total of five runs over their last three games combined. Minnesota hasn’t been much better at the plate, averaging just 2.33 runs per game in six games since the All-Star Break. Take this game to stay under the projected run total on Thursday evening.

Prediction: Under 9
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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.