The Twins have had a very successful start to 2018 going 3-2 in a 5 game road swing. In the April 5th AL free pick they finally get to play in front of the Target Field fans – but oddsmakers have listed Seattle as slight -116 favorites. The Mariners have ridden a powerful offense to a 3-2 start themselves including a series win over Cleveland to start the year. Are we banking on the Twins as ‘dogs today for the mere fact that Minnesota is in their home opener?
Could the Mariners Be Suffering Jet Lag?
Seattle being favored in the April 5th AL free pick is kind of dumbfounding considering Seattle not only lost 1-10 to the Giants yesterday, but the game was in San Francisco. The Mariners have to make a 2,000 mile flight to Minneapolis and play in the early 4:10 PM ET start. Make no mistake, Seattle has the offensive talent to put up runs against Twins starter Kyle Gibson. The Mariners have four players hitting over .350 through five games including Robinson Cano at.500, Mitch Haniger at .467, and Dee Gordon at .429. Overall Seattle has the #2 batting average in all of baseball.
On the bump for Scott Servais’ team Thursday is James Paxton (0-1) who got roughed up in the opener against Cleveland. Paxton’s season ERA sits at 11.57 after surrendering 6ER in 4.2 IP against the Indians. He also gave up 2HR which has the Twins’ Brian Dozier licking his chops. The Minnesota 2B is tied for the league lead with 4HR and he’s also 2-8 with a HR in his career against the Seattle left hander. Other Twins have also had success against Paxton including Miguel Sano (3-6) and Byron Buxton (2-4).
Twins In Line For a Big Home Opener?
Yes the Seattle offensive has been impressive, but these Twins can score too. Minnesota has a top 10 scoring offense with 5.20 runs/game and it’s really been a bevy of players besides Dozier leading the way. Eduardo Escobar has hit .438 through four games (7-16) while Joe Mauer has also been impressive with a .333 average. Miguel Sano has hit 2HR in 5 games as the Twins have put up 6+ runs in three of the last four.
Could Minnesota also have the pitching edge in the April 5th AL free pick? Kyle Gibson is 1-0 on the year after pitching six innings of scoreless ball in his first start against Baltimore. He was 2-0 against Seattle last season despite having an ERA of 5.25 after allowing 7ER in 12 IP. Those appearances against Seattle came on back to back outings for Gibson a year ago. On June 8th in Seattle he allowed just 1ER through 6.0IP but on June 13th he surrendered 12 hits and 6ER through 6.0 IP and that game was in Minnesota. Is seeing Gibson twice in a week the main reason the Mariners had success in the second outing?
April 5th AL Free Pick
Once again, this line of Seattle being favored (-116) is very confusing. The Twins went 14-5 at home to close out 2017 and are 6-1 in Gibson’s last 7 starts vs the Mariners. Seattle flies cross country for an afternoon game after playing in San Francisco yesterday. Plus the Mariners’ Paxton got rocked in his first start of the season. Everything is pointing in the Twins’ favor including the electricity of it being their home opener. This game very well may be a trap, but there’s at least value in the Minnesota bait.
Free Pick: Minnesota Twins +101