July 11, 2015 (Posted at 3:00 PM ET)
Picks will be posted at noon (12:00 PM ET) on Sunday.
Take Minnesota Twins (-136) on the Money Line against Detroit Tigers risking 3% of the bankroll.
(Hughes and Simon must start for wager to have action)
The Twins pulled off a stunning victory last night. It was an incredible 7-run performance in the bottom of the 9th inning, capped off by Dozier's 3-run homer that completed the miraculous comeback! The Detroit Tigers had a convincing 6-1 lead going into the final inning but choked at the most crucial moment for the final 3 outs! We have always said that a game is not over until the final out and the Minnesota Twins proved that with their heart and determination last night! A loss like that and in that fashion will certainly have an effect on both sets of players. To go from an easy win to a shocking walk-off defeat is an emotional rollercoaster that is incredibly difficult to overcome and bounce back from, especially in the short turnaround time that this game is being played on. Let's also not forget that Detroit has had shaky confidence at times this season under Brad Ausmus' leadership. This is not the same team as when Jim Leyland was in charge which is why they are a pretty 'streaky' team either putting on impressive winning streaks or losing in bunches. We've already seen that this season and after the way they lost last night's game in the 9th inning, it wouldn't surprise us if they went on to suffer a couple more losses.
There is no doubt in our minds that Miguel Cabrera's absence is being felt by this team. Not so much offensively actually but his defensive presence at 1st base and his leadership and composure. Losses like the one this team suffered are very tough to take and you need strong presence on the field to help keep the composure. Not having Miggy on the field, they are without their true captain which makes dealing with heartbreaking losses like this that much tougher to get over.
For the Twins, that victory had to be the ultimate adrenaline rush. To be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat will have likely lifted this teams spirits and given them a certain confidence knowing that they are always in the ball game and that there is no deficit that they cannot erase. While today’s game will likely have a negative impact on the Detroit players, we believe the opposite will be true for the Twins. They have the momentum behind them in this contest and we expect some of that magic that they pulled off last night to carry over into this game as well. This is arguably the Twins game to lose and after having gone 2-8 heading into last night's contest, we don’t expect that they will show any sympathy on what should be a reeling Detroit team. They want to go into All-Star break remaining in one of the Wild Card spots while ideally putting more daylight between themselves and the Tigers while also bridging the gap by pulling closer to division leading Kansas City Royals.
While Detroit certainly has a potent offense with players like JD Martinez, Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler doing damage at the plate, their pitching has been rather inconsistent and often times a liability for this team. It hasn't been felt as much as it would on other teams because of their offense; however the Detroit pitching has not been very good. The bullpen should be shaky coming into this contest after cost their team the game last night and their starting pitcher in this contest isn't likely to be the answer either. Alfredo Simon has given up 11 runs over his past two starts and has not made it to the sixth inning in either one! While Simon does have a cannon of an arm, he has been wildly inconsistent this season, especially on the road where his ERA is 5.40 on the season. The Tigers need a quality performance from him but we are not sure that they will get it. Also, Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki is 4 for 10 against Alfredo Simon with two home runs in his career!
Meanwhile Phil Hughes has had his ups and downs in his career as well. He is by no means an All-Star but he has a 2.95 ERA over his last 6 starts and is pitching much better as the season has gone on. He has also had success navigating this lineup in the past and has shown the ability to keep these Tigers bats at bat and limit damage. He has a 36/7 strikeout to walk ratio against this team and that has been key since pitcher just can't afford to give free passes on base against this Tigers lineup. You have to challenge this lineup by throwing strikes and relying on your defense to make the routine fielding plays. Hughes has done a good job of that in the past. He likely won't play mistake free ball against this team, but we do expect him to be able to limit the damage caused.
The Twins have had a huge home field advantage this season. Target Field has been an incredibly difficult place for opposing teams to play as evident by their 29-16 overall record. The Twins have had a few come from behind victories this season with none more dramatic that last nights. While that no doubt shows heart and determination, this team has also been nearly lights out when holding a lead at home. The Twins reliever staff is 16-1 in save situations at Target Field this season! While a win today won't give them the series, it would certainly give them leg up and with Gibson vs. Greene on the mound tomorrow, it puts them in a great position to win what would be a very important series right before All-Star break against their direct rivals. Minnesota has major momentum now and should capitalize on last night’s turn of events by pulling off another win.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Phil Hughes is 17-8 in day games over the last 2 seasons.
- Tigers are just 7-13 on the road when the total is set at 8 or 8.5 runs this season!
- Twins are 22-12 after 2 or more games without committing a fielding error this season!
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