This has been a tough stretch in the Minnesota Twins schedule, back-to-back series against AL East teams. First they got swept by Tampa Bay and now they’re going for the sweep against the Toronto Blue Jays. After winning yesterday, 9-4 behind a grand slam from Carlos Correa, Minnesota is up 2-0 in the series and is back over .500, 33-32 still leading the AL Central. The Blue Jays are 36-30, good enough for fourth in the East.
For the finale in Toronto, the Twins will hand the ball to 3-2 Louie Varland who has a 4.40 ERA in eight starts this season. The rookie will face off against Kevin Gausman, one of the best pitchers in the AL. Gausman is 5-3 with a 2.63 ERA.
For Minnesota to pull off the sweep today, they’ll need to win as big underdogs in Toronto.
Twins vs. Blue Jays odds, run line and total
Twins vs. Blue Jays prediction and pick
This season, no team has struck out more than the Minnesota Twins who have been punched out 667 times, 38 more times than the Giants who have the second most. Now, they have to face Kevin Gausman who has an ERA of 1.35 since May 10 with an even 2.00 FIP and 12.38 strikeouts per nine over that stretch. For the season he is 95th percentile in strikeout rate and chase rate and 75th percentile in whiff rate. Gausman should slice through this Minnesota lineup all afternoon.
The league average for chase rate in hitters is 28.2% and as a team the Twins are at 29.1%. Nick Gordon and Will Castro have chase rates of 39.2 and 37.4. Jose Miranda checks in at 35%, while Michael A. Taylor, Kyle Farmer, and Donovan Solano are all over 30%.
It seems that Gausman will have another great outing on the mound and over 8.5 strikeouts is a bet I’ve already placed. Now, it’s just a matter of what the Blue Jays lineup can do to Varland and the Minnesota bullpen. I think Toronto will have success with the bats given that Varland’s FIP is 5.27 and he’s given up 11 home runs in eight starts. I’ll take Toronto to fight off the sweep and win at home in Game 3.
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