Twins Making Moves in Oakland

Jason Lake

Saturday, July 29, 2017 4:57 PM UTC

Saturday, Jul. 29, 2017 4:57 PM UTC

The Minnesota Twins seem to think they’re buyers at the deadline. But are they the right baseball pick for Saturday's road game against the faltering Oakland Athletics?

Oh, those crazy Minnesota Twins. On Monday, they picked up starting pitcher Jaime Garcia from the Atlanta Braves, a move that you’d normally expect from a top contender ahead of the MLB trade deadline. Well, just about anyone can win a Wild Card in the American League, even the Twins (50-51, +2.68 units), who find themselves four games out of a playoff spot with over 60 games to go.

Just about anyone. The Oakland Athletics (44-59, –12.28 units) are 11 games back after falling 6-3 to Garcia and the Twins on Friday, letting Minnesota cash in as a –118 road chalk. They’ll go at it again Saturday night (9:05 p.m. ET) at the Coliseum; Chris Smith is penciled in to start for Oakland, while the Twins will send Adalberto Mejia to the mound. It’s a toss-up on the MLB odds board as we go to press.


Not Feeling Minnesota

You may remember Smith (5.10 FIP in 19 innings) from our award-shunning July 8 article when we took OVER 9.5 in Oakland’s game against the Seattle Mariners. It was Smith’s first MLB start, an emergency fill-in at age 36, and go figure, he held the Mariners to three runs over six innings in a 4-3 victory. Smith delivered quality starts in each of his next two games, as well, but the A’s found a way to honk those ones.

Can’t trust those quality starts, folks. Smith has allowed a tiny .203 BABIP, giving him a respectable 3.32 ERA that’s more sizzle than steak. Then again, Mejia (4.91 FIP) hasn’t pitched as well as his 4.10 ERA would suggest, either. Minnesota has committed just four errors in his 15 starts, but they’ve also supplied just 4.20 runs (tee hee) of support per game, going 7-8 for a loss of 0.93 units behind Mejia. The UNDER is 9-5-1 in those games.

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One year ago today the Twins traded Eduardo Nunez for Adalberto Mejia. Shows that veteran-for-prospect deals can help in the short term too.

— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) July 28, 2017

Our good friends at FiveThirtyEight have Oakland winning Saturday’s game 51 percent of the time, or –104 using the phenomenal SBR Betting Odds Converter. The A’s are available as high as +104, so there might be a smidge of value for your MLB picks there. But we’re going to give the OVER another spin on the total of nine runs. The Twins rank No. 11 overall in defensive value according to FanGraphs, and while it’s hard to measure defense, this stat gives us yet another reason to anticipate some regression to the mean in the scoring department. A botch here or there behind Mejia, a seeing-eye double against Smith, and presto, instant cash. Instant in the long run, that is.

Free MLB Pick: OVER 9 (–115)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
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