The Twins are in a great spot to rebound against one of their division rivals.
Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins
Detroit moved a one-half game ahead of Minnesota with a 7-5 win in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field. “I couldn’t care less about first place right now,” said manager Jim Leyland. “The thing when it means something is the 163rd game.” The victory didn’t come without a price, as key reliever Joel Zumaya suffered a right elbow injury on an eighth inning pitch. The powerful right-hander is scheduled to undergo an MRI Tuesday. Detroit hopes to have outfielder Magglio Ordonez back in the lineup, after being scratched from the lineup after taking some batting practice on Monday. Since joining the Tigers in 2005, Ordonez is hitting .348 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI in 83 games against the Twins. The Tigers are just a game over .500 when facing right-handed starters in 2010 (27-26, -40).
Tigers SP Armando Galarraga is 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA in eight outings (seven starts) this season (+560) and picked up his first victory last time out since his controversial one-hitter on June 2. The right-hander is an even 1-1 with a 6.32 ERA in three road starts (+120), as he’s managed to strike out just six batters in 15.2 innings. Galarraga has enjoyed little success against tonight’s opponent, carrying a 1-5 record and 5.48 ERA in nine career appearances (seven starts). He will be happy to face the Twins in their new ball park, after going 0-3 with a 5.74 ERA in five outings at the Metrodome.
Minnesota has now cause for concern in dropping last night’s game, as the team is still 23-14 in its inaugural year (+100) at Target Field and 8-2-2 in series play at home. The Twins have been especially dominant when listed as a home favorite of -125 to -150, going 12-2 this season (+940) and 43-19 over the last three years (+1,660). The club still holds an overall 4-3 series advantage that includes a 3-1 mark at home. Manager Ron Gardenhire needs tonight’s starter to step up and provide a lift, as the team has dropped eight of 11 and the starting rotation has posted a 7.43 ERA over that span.
Twins SP Nick Blackburn is 6-5 with a 6.10 ERA in 14 starts (+220), giving up an incredible 111 hits in just 79.2 innings. The right-hander has suffered defeats in four of his last five starts, allowing six home runs in 18.2 innings. He has carried over his career success at the Metrodome (15-7, 3.57 ERA) into Target Field, posting a perfect 4-0 record and 3.19 ERA in six starts (+380). Blackburn is an even 3-3 with a 3.78 ERA in eight career outings against Detroit (+110), but he tallied a 4-3 home victory in his last start against them on May 4.
Bettors shouldn’t be surprised that the Tigers have posted an even 14-14 record against the division this season (-280) due to their 80-93 mark the last three years (-3,280). This highlights a big opportunity in betting the Twins tonight off of Monday’s loss, as the club is 17-10 versus AL Central opponents this year (+240) and a dominating 106-67 over a three year span (+2,680).