The Texas Rangers will try to gain a little momentum going into the All-Star break in a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins that begins Friday night. Texas has dropped four of its last five after a six-game winning streak that got it back into the Wild Card race. The Rangers, who are eight games behind Houston in the American League West race, come into Friday’s contest 1.5 games behind Cleveland for the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
Meanwhile, the Twins have been in a bit of a slump as well, dropping five of their last seven and seeing their American League Central lead shrink to six games over second-place Cleveland. Still, Minnesota remains the class of the division and sat in first place on July 4 for the first time since the 2002 season.
The moneyline for this contest has the Texas Rangers +158 and the Minnesota Twins -173. The over/under has been set at 10.5.
Looking For Wins
The Rangers will start Adrian Sampson in the opener, as the right-hander looks to improve on his 6-5 record. Sampson has lost two of his last three decisions, including a setback to Tampa Bay last weekend when he gave up three runs and five hits in six innings of work. For the season, Sampson has a 4.16 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 20 walks in 88 2/3 innings of work. This will be his 12th start and 19th appearance of the season.
The Texas offense finally broke out in the series finale against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, putting up nine runs in their only win of the series. It was certainly a difficult series for both teams after the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs on Monday. Leftfielder Joey Gallo will look to improve on his team-high 20 home runs, though he has only three in the nine games since he returned from a couple of weeks on the injured list.
Martin Perez gets the start for Minnesota, his first against his former team after he spent the first seven seasons of his career with Texas before coming to the Twins. Perez is 7-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 14 starts this season, which is more than halfway to his career best of 13 wins that he had in 2017 with the Rangers. Perez hasn’t recorded a win since May 23, going 0-2 over that span and giving up 22 earned runs in 31 innings.
The Twins are coming off their first losing road trip of the season and are hoping being at home will wake up their offense. The home run continues to be Minnesota’s weapon of choice, with Max Kepler’s 21 homers leading nine Twins with double-digit totals in home runs. Eddie Rosario is right behind Kepler with 20 home runs, and he leads Minnesota with 60 RBI as well.
Twins Get The Win
Texas has been up and down for much of this season. The Rangers seem to be in a bit of a downslide right now, and playing against one of the best teams in the American League isn’t going to help. Minnesota wants to head into the All-Star break on a positive note, and they have a motivated Perez pitching against his former team to get them started. I’m taking Minnesota -173 to win the series opener.