The AL Central is there for the taking, but the Minnesota Twins don’t seem to want to slam the door shut on the rest of the division. Yesterday, they fell to 55-54, just two games up on Cleveland with a 7-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals who are last in the NL Central at 48-61.
The Twins have lost six of their last seven and today they’ll send Sonny Gray to the mound in St. Louis. Gray is 4-4 in 21 starts with a 3.22 ERA and will be opposed by lefty Matthew Liberatore. Liberatore will make his ninth start and 10th appearance of the year today. He is 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA.
The Cardinals are home underdogs despite hitting four homers in the win yesterday, but St. Louis could steal the series from the top dog in the AL Central today.
Twins vs. Cardinals odds, run line and total
Twins vs. Cardinals prediction and pick
Matthew Liberatore is not a good left-handed pitcher, but he is a left-handed pitcher. The Twins needed to add a right-handed bat at the deadline to help them against lefties and they didn't do it. That will cost them today.
Minnesota is last in OPS against lefties this year and dead last in RBI with 83 driven in off lefties. That’s been a theme for this team all season long because their best right-handed bats, Bryon Buxton and Carlos Correa have reverse platoon splits. Particularly Buxton who is hitting .179 against lefties with a team high 29 strikeouts. Libertore has a 4.68 FIP, so he’s due for big time positive regression.
Sonny Gray is in a similar situation with a 2.93 FIP, so he’s also due for a few good starts and maybe even some favorable luck. Gray and Liberatore will both have good starts, so this one could come down to the bullpens. Since the start of July, Minnesota is 23rd in bullpen ERA and St. Louis is 25th. The Cardinals have gotten a bit worse without Jordan Hicks back there now, but because of Minnesota’s struggles to hit lefties I’ll back the Redbirds in the rubber match.
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