Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#915 Minnesota Twins -150 vs.
#916 Texas Rangers 11
Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 8:05pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s the start of a series between American League foes down in the Lone Star State. The Minnesota Twins are on the road as they open up a four-game series with the Texas Rangers Thursday night. Minnesota closed a two-game interleague set on the road with the Brewers, falling 6-5 Wednesday afternoon. Texas dodged a sweep of a three-game set at the hands of the Blue Jays as they picked up a 7-3 victory on Wednesday afternoon on the road. The Twins took two of three meetings in the first series between the teams this season, which took place July 5-7 at Target Field.

Minnesota Twins Battling in AL Central Chase

Minnesota let one slip away late and missed a chance to extend their lead in the AL Central race. The Twins enter this contest with a narrow half-game advantage over the Indians in the division. Minnesota got solo homers from Miguel Sano (his 21st), Eddie Rosario (his 26th) and Mitch Garver (his 23rd) in the loss. Kyle Gibson didn’t factor in the decision after allowing three runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts over five innings. Sergio Romo (2-1) took the loss as he allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits with no walks and a strikeout over two-thirds of an inning. Minnesota loaded the bases in the ninth but C.J. Cron flew out to end the game.

Devin Smeltzer gets the call to make his seventh appearance and fifth start of the season for the Twins in this contest. He is 1-2 with a 3.66 ERA, a 1.094 WHIP, eight walks and 25 strikeouts over 32 innings of work this year. Smeltzer took the loss in his last start, which came Friday at home against the Indians. He gave up six runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts over 4.1 innings in a 6-2 Twins defeat. Smeltzer is 1-2 with a 5.94 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP, seven walks and 10 strikeouts over 16.2 innings in his last three starts. He didn’t factor in the decision in his lone career appearance against the Rangers, which came at home on July 7. In that contest, he threw 4.1 innings, allowing one run on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in a 4-1 Twins loss. Smeltzer, in his seventh major league appearance and fifth career start, pitches at Globe Life Park for the first time.

Texas Rangers Hope to Gain Momentum at Home

Texas was dropped in the first two games of the series against Toronto but managed to get the win in the finale to avoid a sweep. The Rangers enter this one at the .500 mark on the year: they were third in the AL West, 17.5 games behind Houston, and trailed the Rays by 10.5 games for the second wild card spot. Elvis Andrus (two RBI) had four hits for Texas while Nomar Mazara (two runs, RBI) and Danny Santana (three runs, three RBI) each added a pair of hits. Kolby Allard (1-0) earned the win as he threw 5.2 innings: he allowed three runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in his first major league victory.

Pedro Payano takes the hill for his sixth appearance and fourth start of the year for the Rangers here. He comes in 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA, a 1.714 WHIP, 12 walks and 14 strikeouts over 18.2 innings of work in the majors this season. Payano took the loss in his last start, which came Saturday on the road against the Brewers. He threw three innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and a strikeout in a 3-2 Rangers defeat. Payano is 0-1 with a 4.97 ERA, a 2.13 WHIP, 10 walks and seven strikeouts over 12.2 innings of work in his last three starts. In his sixth career appearance and fourth start, he pitches against the Twins for the first time. Payano didn’t factor in the decision in his lone career start at Globe Life Park, which came on August 4. In that contest, he threw 4.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts in a 9-4 Rangers victory.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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This one is a matchup of a pair of young arms on the mound as the teams try to look at some options for the future. Minnesota is in a tight race for the AL Central race as the Indians are nipping at their heels right now. Texas likely is out of the playoff chase barring a hot stretch and a lot of help from teams ahead of them cratering. Smeltzer has had some solid outings at the major league level this season and has faced some tough competition. The Twins have a dynamic lineup, even with Nelson Cruz missing: look for Minnesota to get the upper hand here.

Prediction: Minnesota Twins -135

Full-Game Total Pick

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Minnesota added three more homers to their league-leading total, which now stands at 236 on the season after Wednesday’s contest. That’s going to present a challenge for the Rangers, who have been quietly effective offensively this season despite sitting right at the .500 mark. Texas entered Wednesday ninth in the majors with 5.12 runs per game but they have been better at home this season. The Rangers are putting up 5.67 runs per game at Globe Life Park with a .262/.332/.472 slash line. Can Texas get a win at home to slow down the Twins here?

The over is 6-1 in the Twins’ last 7 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30, 4-1 in their last five on the road, 4-1 in their last five on the road against a right-handed starter and 15-6 in their last 21 games on Thursday. Texas has seen the over go 8-1-1 in their last 10 home games, 4-1-1 in their last 6 home games vs. a left-handed starter and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games vs. a left-handed starter. The over is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Texas and 5-1 in their last six meetings overall. Look for this one to be a slugfest that pushes over the total.

Prediction: Over 11.5

First Five Innings Side Pick

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The pitchers don’t have an overwhelming track record to lean on in this one. Smeltzer has made a half-dozen appearances in the majors this season while Payano has only five on the year. With that said, the Twins have been the more consistent team all season long: coupled with their power game, it’s tough to keep them in check. Texas has been effective offensively but trying to stop the Twins from hammering the ball all over the place is a challenge. Look for Minnesota to get the upper hand after five innings.

Prediction: Minnesota Twins -138

First Five Innings Total Bet

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Minnesota has pounded the ball all year long and they’ve already blown past the franchise record for homers in a season. The Twins are missing a couple of pieces with Nelson Cruz and Byron Buxton on the shelf but they have plenty of pieces to pick up the slack. Texas has been effective at home this season at the plate but their pitching has sputtered at Globe Life Park. The Rangers’ staff has a 5.03 ERA and a 1.452 WHIP at Globe Life Park despite being 13 games over .500 there this season. This one ends up going over the number as there’s little reason to have faith in either starter here.

Prediction: Over 6.5

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.