Shawn’s ATS Season Record: 69-40
Los Angeles Angels (19-21, 23-17 ATS) at Minnesota Twins (25-14, 22-17 ATS)
Tuesday, 7:40 (FSNO/FS-W)
Free MLB Pick: Twins Money Line
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
It’s been a long month of May for the Angels. The three game series with the Twins in Minnesota, which ends on Wednesday, caps a four-city, 6,000-mile, 11-game road trip that took L. A. to Mexico, Detroit and Baltimore before heading to Minneapolis.
The Angels were 4-4 on the trip prior to Monday’s series opener but are just 8-12 on the road this season. They’ve given up 10 or more runs in three games on the trip and surrendered five to the hapless Orioles in Sunday’s series finale.
In addition to pitching woes, the Angels still hope to find consistent hitting, other than perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout. Shohei Ohtani returned from the injured list over the trip, but he’s gone just 4 for 21 with three RBI since he got back. Los Angeles gave him a day off on Sunday, which manager Brad Ausmus said was scheduled.
The Angels will turn to righthander Felix Pena (2-1, 3.21) in Tuesday’s game. This will be Pena’s first start in 24 days as he’s come on in the second inning in his last three outings. Both of his wins have come in relief appearances, and his stats as a reliever (2.20 ERA, 0.673 WHIP, 20 K in 17 IP) are significantly better than when he starts the game (4.15, 1.154, 14 K in 16.2 IP).
His last appearance was an impressive seven shutout innings-in relief-of the Tigers on Thursday.
Home sweet home for first-place Twins
In addition to having the best record in MLB, the Twins have a 13-7 home record and have won five of the last seven games.
The Twins are led by Jorge Polanco, who is among the MLB leaders in WAR (2.4), average (.324) and OPS (1.000)
A possible red flag for the Twins is the status of Nelson Cruz. The DH is hitting .270 with seven home runs, but he left Sunday’s game with wrist soreness. He felt pain when swinging and missing at a pitch, and he was scheduled for an MRI on Monday.
The Twins did get back another important piece for the offense, with catcher Willians Astudillo (.315 average, 847 OPS) returning from the I.R. on Sunday after recovering from a hamstring strain. He doubled in his first game back on Sunday.
The Twins will start righty Kyle Gibson (3-1, 4.19), who is coming off a career-best 11 strikeouts in last Wednesday’s start. He’s won three of his last four starts with 28 strikeouts and only three walks to go with his 2.28 ERA.
The Twins were one of the season’s early surprises, while the Angels have been a bit of a letdown. We’ve reached the point in the season where what we’ve seen on the field needs to be given more weight than what a team looks like on paper. Look for the Twins to send the Angels back west with a disappointing loss.