The Los Angeles Angels stay on the road for another American League showdown with the Minnesota Twins on Friday. An all-weekend affair puts the Twins on the path towards trying to fix their losing record at Target Field this season. They’ll have to stave off the explosive bats of the Angels in a four-game series to do as such. J.A. Happ is slated to pitch for the Twins opposite of Los Angeles’ Alex Cobb.
“Sho-time” for the AngelsThis series has all of the makings of Shohei Ohtani and the Angels offense taking off in a rocket ship over the weekend. Minnesota’s pitching rotation has been miserable all season, and the bullpen hasn’t been any better.
It’s hard to win games when the team is allowing an average 4.98 runs per game. They’re getting lit up on a nightly basis, and they’ve been helpless in doing anything to stop it. Things won’t get any better with the hard-hitting Angels and Ohtani coming to town for a visit. It’s a team that’s still dangerous, although they’re still playing without Mike Trout.
They’re currently sitting at a .263 batting average and .785 OPS against left-handed pitchers ahead of a date with J.A. Happ on the mound. Imagine if Angels fans could be equally as excited about the defense as they are the offense.
This would be a championship contender.
But like the Twins, the Angels couldn’t pitch their way out of a wet paper bag. Their pitching rotation has the sixth-worst ERA in the league, and they’re bleeding runs on a nightly basis. However, they’re profusely bleeding runs when they’re on the road. Alex Cobb (3.96 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for the team in this particular game. The veteran righty has been sharp in avoiding more than one earned run in his last three outings.
If he can at least trip up Minnesota’s offense, the Angels will be in business.
Twins miss a golden opportunityThursday’s opening game against the Angels was one of the few times when the Twins’ bullpen didn’t let them down. Kenta Maeda started on the mound and gave up three runs in the fifth inning, and it was quiet the rest of the way.
The Twins waited for their bats to come through and the offense to put up a fight, but it never happened. It was nothing but dead silence for five straight innings after a brief two-run escapade in the fourth. Minnesota is deep enough in the season to know they aren’t going to be able to hold back the floodgates for the entire series. It’s only a matter of time before the Angels start piling on the scoreboard.
J.A. Happ isn’t in the best spot to handle business considering he just got gashed on the road by the Detroit Tigers after giving up 11 hits and seven earned runs in seven innings. That sort of effort isn’t going to save the Twins against the Halos.
No, it’s all about the bats for Minnesota. Their team is currently working with a .244 batting average and .744 OPS. There’s hope of matching the Angels’ lowly defense by going blow-for-blow on offense. The Twins have their work cut out for them in this one.
Minnesota also dealt slugger Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay for two minor league prospects last night. The 41-year old Cruz has 19 homers and 50 RBI to lead the Twins.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Angels are 13-3 in their last 16 games against a team with a losing record.
- Angels are 6-1 in their last 7 games against teams in the American League Central.
- Angels are 4-0 in their last 4 road games against a team with a losing record.
- Angels are 14-4 in their last 18 games against a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
- Twins are 8-18 in their last 26 games as a home underdog.
- Twins are 2-5 in their last 7 overall.
- Twins are 2-5 in their last 7 games on grass.
- Twins are 3-8 in their last 11 games as an underdog.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Twins escaped the opener without having their scoreboard blown up by the Angels offense. That would have been a good thing if they actually won the game. But of course, despite being gifted a great performance by Kenta Maeda and the closing arm of Danny Coulombe, the Twins still found a way to lose.
That doesn’t bode well for them in the rematch.
Alex Cobb has been pitching well, and the Angels just got Justin Upton back in their offensive lineup. Another dependable bat to go alongside Shohei Ohtani and company isn’t what the Twins wanted to see in this series.
J.A. Happ got turned into a punching bag by the Detroit Tigers in his last outing. It’ll be tough to bounce back from a loss like that one against a legitimate top-10 run-scoring offense. There will come a point when the Twins are looking on helplessly at the scoreboard in this one. I’m rolling with the Angels on Friday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
J.A. Happ has obviously struggled on the mound, particularly in his last outing against the Detroit Tigers. A team that ranked in the bottom-half of the league in almost every offensive statistic turned their “Motor City” visit into a legitimate nightmare. The Angels have the offense to ruin Happ’s night for a second straight outing, but Alex Cobb has been too good in recent outings to go all in on the over. He hasn’t allowed more than one run in his last three straight games. It’s going to be an issue for a Twins team already with more problems than they know how to deal with this season. Give me the under on Friday.