Every team in baseball has been involved in interleague play this week and if you are following the betting odds you will notice the Cubs and Twins will continue on this journey.
Chicago is 1-2 this week versus the AL and 3-4 on the season, while Minnesota split four with St. Louis (home teams won each time) and they are 5-4 against the squads from the other league.
These teams have not met in three years and this figures to be a very competitive series, with the Cubs a -125 favorite to take two of three at Wagerweb, home of next day guaranteed payout.
Time to breakdown the series opener.
Chicago Cubs News
Joe Maddon’s Cubs have won seven of 11 and offensively are all over the board being shut-out twice and posting 29 runs in two of those wins. On the positive side Chicago is trying to take advantage of rookie catching slugger Kyle Schwarber, who has been their main DH this week and is six for 10. It is known the 22-year will return to the minors to gain further catching experience, but the Cubs are trying to take advantage of his potent bat.
On the topic of hitting, Kris Bryant is batting a blazing .351 during a 14-game hitting streak, which should make Chicago a more enticing choice for sports picks against the MLB odds with Anthony Rizzo (.301 BA, 13 HR’s and 39 rbi’s) also in the mix.
Minnesota Twins News
The Twins are only 6-11 this month, compared to 20-7 in May and for baseball handicappers the answer is easy than understanding the whole Bruce/Caitlyn ordeal.
Minnesota is averaging 2.8 runs per game this month versus 4.6 RPG last month. One person on the Twinkies who will not mind seeing Cubs pitching is Joe Mauer, who is batting .357 in 28 at bats. He will definitely need more help be it from Kennys Vargas (.358 SP), Brian Dozier (13 homers) or Torii Hunter (.410 SP).
Minnesota will arrive feeling good having just taken the two-game home series against St. Louis and moving to 22-12 (+12 units) at Target Field.
Hendricks vs. Hughes Matchup
Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 3.80) is beginning to resemble the pitcher we saw last season after a bumpy start. The right-hander in scout’s eyes is a fifth starter or long reliever, but pitches better than that. While not compared directly to, in Chicago he’s shown the ability to command his pitches similar to Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. Though he fumbled early, Hendricks is back to spotting his upper 80’s fastball on the black and has a lights out change which is very deceiving and he creates a lot of swings and misses with it. In his past five outings has a 2.25 ERA.
There has been a great deal of speculation about Phil Hughes (4-6, 4.79) this season. Some feel he was super motivated to prove the Yankees wrong in his first year after leaving and has lost that fire and returned to who he is. Opposing teams are hitting .301 against him, (compared to .265 for career) as his fastball and curve are catching too much of the plate or he’s just making mistakes. Hughes only has nine walks in 13 starts, but possibly he needs to throw inside a little more because hitters seem to understand he’s going to always be around the dish.
Oddsmakers Numbers and Winner
Most sportsbooks have taken Chicago from a smallish favorite to a slight underdog, with the total holding at 8. The Cubs have dropped seven of nine to Minnesota but that was with a very different cast of players.
Chances are neither starter will be around to get a win, but with the Twinkies fine home record and the fact even with a one run lead they have a save percentage of 89.2 (best in baseball), while Chicago in the same circumstance is at 62.5 percent. Not an overwhelming choice for MLB picks, but I will support the home team.
Free MLB Pick: Minnesota at -106 at Bovada