MLB Picks: Easy Money From Twins Sweeping Marlins Tonight

Thursday, June 9, 2016 3:37 PM GMT

The Twins still own the worst record in the American League at 18-40, but they get our MLB pick call to complete a three-game sweep of the Marlins as a rare favorite on Thursday.

MLB Record: 37-32-2, +9.05
We actually like the chances of the team with the worst record in the American League to complete a seemingly unlikely three-game sweep in interleague play Thursday night, and as a favorite no less when Tom Koehler and the Miami Marlins (30-29, 16-13 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Ervin Santana and those Minnesota Twins (18-40, 11-18 home) in the finale of a three-game series from Target Field in Minneapolis, MN at 8:10 ET on FOX Sports - North. The posted money line at Heritage Sports has Minnesota as a rather decided home favorite for this contest at current MLB odds of -128.

 

Twins Looking for Third Sweep of Season
Rather surprisingly, the 18-40 Twins are seeking their third three-game sweep of the season after previously turning the trick over the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners, meaning that if they pull this off, about half of their total wins for this entire season will have come from those three series sweeps alone! Minnesota took this series opener by a score of 6-4 on Tuesday and then followed up with a 7-5 victory last night.

Thus the Marlins have suffered an unexpected setback vs. the team that has been the worst MLB pick in the American League and the second worst in all of baseball ahead of only the 17-42 Atlanta Braves, as Miami has been attempting to get back into the National League East race, and while the Marlins are still in third place, they now trail the first place Washington Nationals by six games.

 

Koehler Has Been Dreadful
Koehler has been a disappointment for the Marlins this year, which can be easily seen by his 3-6 record, 4.50 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. The scary part though is that even that less-than-mediocre 4.50 ERA is probably better than it deserves to be as Koehler has had a lot of difficulty throwing strikes this season, resulting in an awful ratio of 45 strikeouts vs. 36 walks in 60.0 innings of work.

For those of you scoring at home, that equates to 6.75 strikeouts vs. a distressing 5.40 walks per nine innings, with that walk rate ranking second worst in the Major Leagues among all qualified starters ahead of only Francisco Liriano (5.55). That has lead to Koehler owning a pitiful 5.20 xFIP that ranks seventh from the bottom among qualified starting pitchers.

Now, Koehler must deal with a Minnesota offense showing signs of improvement recently, averaging 4.73 runs while batting .268 over the last five games including teeing off on Miami pitching the last two nights. Also the Marlins’ bullpen is not providing much relief lately with a collective 6.40 ERA the last 10 games.

At Least Santana Has Good Command Ratio
Now by no means are we insinuating that Santana is some kind of Cy Young Award contender or anything like that, as he has his own walk issues permitting 3.50 free passes per nine innings. But unlike Koehler, at least Santana has a good strikeout rate to compensate for it as his 45 strikeouts are more than double his 21 walks in 54 innings, and he also owns three Quality Starts in his last five outings.

Considering the struggles of Koehler, even a minimal Quality Start from Santana such as allowing three earned runs in six innings would serve the Twins well here. Such was not the case when he was touched up for three home runs while allowing five runs in six innings vs. the Tampa Bay Rays last time out, but his three Quality Starts in his previous four outings included allowing one run in six innings vs. Cleveland and two runs in eight innings vs. Toronto.

And unlike the slumping Miami bullpen, the Minnesota pen is improving with a 3.00 ERA and an excellent 0.97 WHIP over the last 10 games.

 

Miami Hates Interleague Play
Finally, the Marlins could probably do without all of this interleague stuff given that they are now 3-8 in their last 11 such contests. Even worse, Miami is 2-14 in its last 16 interleague road games, as well as 1-6 in Koehler’s last seven starts overall regardless of the opponent. Meanwhile the Twins are actually 6-0 in their last six games vs. teams with winning records and 5-2 in their last seven games after scoring five runs or more in their previous game.

Given how awful Koehler has been this year, look for those trends to continue and for Minnesota to complete the three-game sweep in a rare decidedly favored role hosting Miami on Thursday.

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Free MLB Pick: Minnesota Twins 9.5 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage