Pick Hughes on the Road: Twins vs. Rockies

Doug Upstone

Sunday, July 13, 2014 12:51 PM GMT

It’s the final interleague game before the All-Star break and baseball handicappers and sportsbooks get a well deserved rest from the action. Before then, one contest remains between the AL and NL.

Minnesota Overcoming the Odds
When you look at the Twins batting order and most of their starting pitchers, this looks very much like a last place team. Minnesota is in the upper half in runs scored in the majors despite having a mediocre team batting average (.246).

But with new ways of understanding, the Twins overcome this with an on-base percentage of .320, thanks to be patient at the dish and drawing the third most walks in baseball.

This has allowed them to beat the MLB odds, because the starting pitchers outside of the person who is starting today, whom we will talk about more below, has an ERA which is 27th and they still post a positive units record for those choosing them with sports picks  at 4.4.

 

It Has Been a Rocky Road for Colorado
The Rockies have lost 19 of 25, with injuries playing a significant role in their demise. Colorado has tied Texas having used 13 different starting pitchers this season. This has occurred because of injuries or ineffectiveness and it does not appear to be a coincidence both of these clubs lead baseball in runs conceded.

Colorado has also been without Carlos Gonzalez since early June until this series and he’s been among the reasons why the injury-plagued Rockies have failed so miserably.

The Rockies pitching staff has fallen to last in the majors in ERA (5.00) and OPS (.797) which is a direct correlation to them being outscored by an enormous 2.44 runs per game in this stretch.

 

Pitching Matchup for Sunday
Sometimes a change of scenery can change your entire outlook on life. This has been the case for Phil Hughes, who is 9-5, with a 3.70 ERA and WHIP of 1.17. The right-hander never fulfilled the large expectations of wearing the Yankees pinstripes and has thrown much better this season away from the bright lights. Hughes does not have dominant stuff but he’s been rough on left-handed batters all season as they are hitting only .226 against him.

Brett Anderson (0-2, 3.60 ERA) will make his first start for Colorado since exiting with a left index finger fracture on April 12. The left-hander recorded a 0.96 ERA in 9 1/3 innings of rehab with Triple-A Colorado Springs. He was scheduled to make three rehab starts but will instead take the hill for the Rockies with a pitch count of 85. Anderson is known for a low to mid-90 fastball and an above average slider and is 3-2 (2.88, 0.91 WHIP) versus the Twins.

 

Bullpen View
One could make the case the reason the Minnesota bullpen is superior to Colorado’s is the Rockies relievers spending half their year in Coors Field. And while their truth in the notion, the disparity is too large to ignore.

The Twins bullpen ERA compared to the Rockies is a large chasm, 3.25 versus 4.56. This large differential remains consistent when reviewing on-base percentages (.296 and .336) and OPS, which has Minnesota ninth in baseball at .659 and Colorado 29th at .757.

For those studying the MLB odds, this creates a clear distinction why they the Twins have a much better record in games decided by three runs or less. Minnesota is 28-28 in these types of outcomes which are generally resolved in the late innings, while the Rocks are 22-32.

Colorado pensters permit more than 23 percent more walks and surrender almost twice as many home runs (36 vs. 20), which explains in part why Minnesota has been a much better choice for those making MLB picks.

 

Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
Before this weekend, the last time these teams had met was 2010. Presently, Minnesota is 5-9 in interleague action this season and Colorado is 6-8.

This will be the rubber match in the series with each club trying to win a second consecutive set of contests. The Rockies opened as a -125 money favorite on and have bounced around before arriving at -120 this morning. The total has gone up from 9.5 to 10.

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The Winner Is….
With Hughes and Minnesota 7-2 on the road this season, Anderson on a pitch count, which brings the Colorado bullpen into action and the Rockies 2-17 vs. AL teams scoring 4.2 or less runs a game since 2012, only one way for me to view this outcome. 

MLB Free Picks: Minnesota wins for one of your baseball picks today.