Twins Gain Momentum & Make For Excellent MLB Pick vs. Nationals

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, April 22, 2016 1:47 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 22, 2016 1:47 PM UTC

The Minnesota Twins have regrouped nice, going 5-2 after their 0-9 start. Now then present nice underdog MLB pick value when visiting Washington Nationals in inter-league play.

MLB Record: 8-11-1, -2.02

Minnesota Twins vs. Washington Nationals
Despite the current standings of the two teams involved, the road underdogs could hold value in interleague play Friday night when right-hander Kyle Gibson and the Minnesota Twins (5-11, 1-7 away) pay a visit to southpaw Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals (11-4, 5-1 home) at Nationals Park in Washington, DC at 7:05 ET in a game available on MASN. The posted money line at BetDSI has Minnesota as a decided underdog for this contest at current MLB odds of +150.


Twins Got Road Monkey off Their Backs
It looked like the Twins were in for a long season when they began this year at 0-9, but to their credit they did give up going 5-2 since that dreadful start, so although they are still in last place on the American League Central at 5-11, at least they are trending in the right direction and they also come off of their first road win of the season after routing the Brewers 8-1 in Milwaukee yesterday.

The Nationals meanwhile are in first place in the National League East at 11-4, giving them the second best record in all of baseball behind only the 12-4 Chicago Cubs. The Nats did end a seven-game road trip on a down note though as the losing MLB picks 5-1 to the Marlins in Miami yesterday as Max Scherzer had an off outing allowing all five runs on eight hits in five innings. Washington still finished the trip with a winning 4-3 mark however.


Gibson Better Than He Has Shown
Gibson has yet to show the good form that be showed last season when he finished 11-11 with a fine 3.84 ERA, 3.96 FIP and 3.95 xFIP while pitching for a Minnesota team that exceeded expectations by going 83-79 and finishing second in the division. This year he is 0-2 and is rather lucky to own a 3.57 ERA considering his 1.53 WHIP.

Still, while Gibson by no means has dominant stuff, he has been consistent since coming up to the Major Leagues as last year marked the second straight season that he finished with a FIP and xFIP both below 4.00, and while Gibson is not a big strikeout guy, he makes up for it by inducing a lot of ground ball as he had a ground ball rate of 54.4 percent in 2014, 53.4 percent last year and even an insane 60.7 percent so far this otherwise disappointing early season.

All of those ground balls should stop finding holes eventually, meaning that Gibson should regress to his good peripheral numbers of recent seasons. It also helps that this is his first ever start vs. the Nationals, which usually benefits the pitcher.


Is Gio Overachieving?
The Nationals needed Gonzalez to emerge this season as the third starter after losing Jordan Zimmermann in free agency, and he has indeed been brilliant in his two starts allowing just one earned run and seven hits with 12 strikeouts vs. three walks in 13 innings, all adding up to a 0.69 ERA and 0.77 WHIP despite two unfortunate no-decisions.

Now, Gonzalez is obviously a fine Major League pitcher and he even received Cy Young Award votes when he finished 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA and 207 strikeouts vs. 76 walks in 199.1 innings back in 2012 for the Nationals. However, that was his first season in the National League and batters have since figured out they should take more pitches vs. Gio, as he has been unable to match that season since then with his strikeout-to-walk ratio getting a bit worse each year.

His 3.54 walks per nine innings last season was his highest ratio since coming to the National League, and he is facing a fairly professional Minnesota lineup here when it comes to taking pitches. Thus, we look for the walks to start to rear their ugly head again and for Gonzalez to start to regress from his raging early form, and do not forget that he has an ugly 7.00 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in his seven career starts vs. the Twins covering 36 innings.


Success vs. Left-Handers
Finally, the Twins have had success vs. left-handed pitching during interleague play as they are currently 7-2 in their last nine interleague games vs. southpaws including 4-0 on the road. The Nationals meanwhile are 0-7 in their last seven interleague home games and 6-14 in their last 20 games overall after scoring two runs or less in their previous game.

This price seems right to back those trends to continue, especially with both starting pitchers expected to regress to the mean in opposite directions, so take Minnesota at a nice underdog price visiting Washington in the nation’s capital on Friday.

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Free MLB Pick: Twins +145
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


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