Runs Will Be at a Premium in Minnesota on Sunday

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, May 7, 2017 2:57 PM UTC

Sunday, May. 7, 2017 2:57 PM UTC

The Twins have a chance of winning their series against the Red Sox at home on Sunday, but a tough pitching matchup should lead to a pitching duel. Our MLB handicapper let's us in on how he is playing the game.

I covered this series yesterday, suggesting a ‘dog chase’ method of backing the Twins in the series while taking the Twins in the middle game +1.5 runs. The Twins indeed won the first game of the series – ending the chase – and are in the midst of getting hammered at home for the middle game. A losing proposition so far for me on Saturday. The situation presents itself again on Sunday, and I’m not backing away from the analysis that has us backing the Twins plus 1.5 runs on the run line again. With Chris Sale on the mound for the Red Sox, we can find the Twins at just -110 +1.5 runs at Heritage. Chris Sale is very good; however, the Twins have a starter going at home that should keep this game competitive. It’s also one of the reasons that the O/U total has been listed at just 7.5 across the board.

Ervin Santana has been nothing short of brilliant to start the season for the Twins, and they have him to think almost exclusively for their fast start out of the gates (bonus horse racing reference). Santana has started 6 games and only given up 3 earned runs in 41 innings pitched. That’s good enough for a 0.66 ERA on the year. It gets better though, as of those three runs two of them have come from solo home runs. Santana has just not been in a lot of trouble this year pitching. In fact, he has allowed 4 runs or less in each of his six starts on the year.

Santana has been very tough on right-handers so far on the season, only allowing a .085 batting average against. I’ve handicapped a lot of pitchers with strong lefty splits – pitchers that do well against the Cubs and Nats, but a right-handed split is rare. I would not be surprised if players like Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, and Chris Young could get a rest day on Sunday. Although Santana has allowed only a .147 split against lefties as well, and has a 20/4 K/BB ratio against southpaws. Santana is 5-0 in his six starts this year.

And don’t get me wrong, Chris Sale is awesome for the Red Sox. He is just 2-2 on his six starts though, so his offense has been letting him down. That may not ease up on Sunday with Santana on the mound. This has all of the makings of a pitching duel, and with the books suggesting a very low scoring game the extra run Minnesota is getting has excellent value. I’m taking the Twins +1.5 at almost even money and also the Under of 7.5 at Heritage in this game as one of my Sunday MLB Picks.

Free MLB Picks: Twins +1.5 & Under 7.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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