Oddsmakers are calling the MLB Opening Day Twins at Brewers matchup a close one. We have nothing to go off of past stats and projections, but Minnesota seems to have value with just a -105 price tag. The Twins were 36-24 and won a very good AL Central last season, and also send last year’s Cy Young runner-up to the mound.
Milwaukee is the slight -115 favorite on Thursday afternoon despite finishing in 4th place in the NL Central with a 29-31 record. The Brewers have improved their defense in the offseason, and will be playing a lot of close games that get handed over to their venomous bullpen. The total for Thursday’s game is 7.5.
Twins Hurt By Playing an NL Opener?
Now that MLB has returned to ‘normal’ rules, there will no longer be a designated hitter in National League games. That hurts Minnesota right off the bat, as they won’t get a chance to have Nelson Cruz in the lineup. Cruz led Minnesota with 16 HR last year so his absence hurts, but that’s also a very deadly pinch hitting option for late in the game.
One positive thing about the Opening Day Twins at Brewers matchup for Minnesota is that they are healthy. Josh Donaldson for example had just 81 ABs last year, and Byron Buxton played only 39 games. Minnesota will have to replace 13 HRs and a team leading 42 RBI from Eddie Rosario (non-tendered) however.
Another huge addition is Andrelton Simmons, one of the best defensive shortstops in the league. Simmons roaming the infield can only help the Twins pitching staff, starting in game one for Kenta Maeda. Maeda is making his first ever MLB Opening Day start, coming off a 6-1, 2.70 ERA. Maeda looked like a completely different pitcher last year getting out of the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.
Brewers Look a Bit Different This Year
Milwaukee has moved on from OF Ryan Braun, and look like they’ll be more pitching and defensive oriented in 2021. That was evident in the offseason, with the team signing Jackie Bradley, Jr. to man the outfield and Kolten Wong to take over at second base as Keston Hiura moves to 1B.
Braun did have 8HR last year, but with the NL no longer having the DH this season he was expendable. Just because Milwaukee has shifted a focus towards defense doesn’t mean their offense doesn’t have potential. Christian Yelich only hit .205 last year but did have 12 HRs. Milwaukee also gets Lorenzo Cain back after he opted out after playing just 5 games last season.
Brandon Woodruff will take any run support he can on Thursday after a 3-5 season a year ago despite a career best 3.05 ERA. Woodruff will be making his second consecutive opening day start,
Free Opening Day Twins at Brewers Pick
This game has all the makings of a 1-run game and a pitcher’s duel. It’s nice for the Twins to have Cruz in their pocket in case the game is close late, but late inning heroics are expecting a lot vs. this Brewers bullpen.
Brewers 4 – Twins 3
Free Pick: Milwaukee -115