Four runs on just five hits for Cleveland last night leaves us a little salty this morning. It was a Jason Kipnis solo shot in the 8th inning that pushed the team total over 3.5 after an unearned run against Smyly had the Indians in position to turn our ticket into a loser last night. We’ll come back today with the first side play of 2016 on the American League’s only winless team, who is a small home favorite this afternoon.
After a hopeful 2015 season that ended especially strong, the Minnesota Twins have started disastrously this year. The offense has yet to score more than three times in any of its first eight games and was shutout for the second time last night despite Carlos Rodon walking five in six innings. The Twins’ offense led the league in strikeouts last year at about eight per game, but they’re fanning at an even wilder rate to start 2016. So how could anyone possible like them this afternoon at Target Field?
For one, they should put the ball in play a little more today against Mat Latos. After coming over from Miami, where he ended last year, Latos was torched in the Cactus League but put together a pleasantly surprising start against Oakland a week ago, tossing six one-hit innings despite just two strikeouts. Latos’ velocity dip has been fairly well-documented over the years and he’s no longer the strikeout guy he used to be. He got a couple nice plays behind him in Oakland and if that doesn’t happen today, the Twins may have their highest offensive output of the season.
It’ll be Ervin Santana‘s third start of the season and when a team is still winless for its ace’s third go-around, desperation mode has to reach a new sort of level. Santana has looked pretty good so far, allowing only two runs to both Baltimore and Kansas City, though his start in Baltimore was limited to two innings due to rain. He should continue to throw well in his first home start. It’s all enough for me to drop a small play on the Twinkies to get win number one as a small-priced fave. Play it for half a unit.
Free Pick: Minnesota -113
YTD: 1-1 -0.10
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02
chicago white sox • ervin santana • mat latos • Minnesota Twins