Lousy Offense Suggest Low Scoring Affair In A's vs. Twins Matchup

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 6:15 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 5, 2016 6:15 PM UTC

The All-Star Break can't come soon enough for Oakland and Minnesota. The Twins are underdogs on MLB odds with a total of 9 as they play their final home game before the break vs. the A's.

Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins
Presumably, both these teams will be major sellers ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline because the season is already essentially over for both. The Twins have the worst record in baseball and worst run differential in the American League. So at least they will have a shot at the No.1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. Oakland is only ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.

The Twins are a bit banged up right now. The team placed starting third baseman Trevor Plouffe on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a cracked rib that likely sideline him 3-4 weeks. He was having a disappointing season, batting .252 with seven homers and 27 RBIs. Plouffe claims he has been only about 65 or 70 percent healthy all season due to various injuries. Miguel Sano, one of the Twins' top prospects, should play the hot corner most days while Plouffe is out. Meanwhile, shortstop Eduardo Escobar is dealing with a hamstring injury and won't play before Thursday -- if he does before the All-Star break. Escobar is generally second-string regardless behind Eduardo Nunez, who can also play third.

Minnesota probably has the most non-descript lineup in baseball these days. Casual fans have probably only heard of first baseman Joe Mauer and second baseman Brian Dozier.

Oakland isn't exactly loaded with big-name players, either. Right fielder Josh Reddick is a pretty good player and he's drawing a lot of trade interest right now. Consider him a goner within the next few weeks. The Royals are looking at Reddick. I'm not sure there's any other A's position player who would bring much back. There's a reason the A's and Twins are two of the weaker offenses in the American League.

The A's are down two relievers who were recently placed on the DL in right-hander Fernando Rodriguez and lefty Sean Doolittle (who likely will be traded if back healthy by Aug. 1). Oakland has called up righty Andrew Triggs and lefty Patrick Schuster from Triple-A.



Probable Pitchers
Speaking of trade candidates, both starting pitchers Wednesday have been rumored on the market. Oakland goes with its presumed ace in Sonny Gray. GM Billy Beane has said he's not trading Gray, and I believe him right now because Gray's value is really low with a 3-7 record, 5.42 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. The A's are 1-10 on MLB odds in Gray's past 11 starts on four days of rest. Plus Gray missed a bit of time on the DL. Last year, Gray was a Cy Young candidate with a 14-7 record and 2.73 ERA.

In his last start, Gray was shelled for seven runs and seven hits in six innings in a loss to Pittsburgh. He hasn't personally won since April 22. Gray hasn't faced the Twins this year. In 2015, Gray lost his lone start against Minnesota, allowing five runs in six innings. Dozier is 3-for-7 career off him with a homer and two RBIs. Mauer is 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

While Gray is likely to stay put, I'd be surprised if Minnesota starter Ervin Santana is still with the Twins come Aug. 2. The 33-year-old is owed more than $40 million on a contract that runs through 2018. Minnesota would love to be rid of that but probably would have to eat a bit of money to move him. Santana (2-7, 4.50) took a no-decision in his last start, allowing two runs and three hits over 6.1 innings vs. Texas -- a team with an injury-decimated rotation that's scouting Santana hard. The Twins are 0-8 on MLB picks in Santana's past eight following a quality start in his last appearance.

Santana  pitched in Oakland on May 30 and allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings in a loss. Oakland's Billy Butler is 8-for-37 career off Santana with five homers and nine RBIs but also eight strikeouts. Coco Crisp is 4-for-24 with three doubles, a homer, and four RBIs. Reddick is 4-for-15 with a double.

Love the 'under' between two bad offenses and in a day game after a night one. Take Oakland. The Twins are 1-8 in Santana's past nine home starts.

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Free MLB Pick:  Under 9 -105
Best Line Offered:  at Bookmaker

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