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Sunday’s MLB Over/Under: Handicapping The Twins’ Bullpen Strategy in Texas

  • The Twins will use their bullpen early and often as they attempt to utilize an "opener" to start the game for the first time this season.
  • The Rangers will send out one of their young arms -- Yohan Mendez -- who has been efficient in has August starts in the minor leagues.

Betting odds: Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers

  • Over/Under: 11.5
  • First Pitch: 3:05 p.m. ET
  • Probable Pitchers: Gabriel Moya (3-0, 4.73 ERA) vs. Yohander Mendez (0-1, 14.73 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 88-58-4, +23.85 units

Yesterday’s Result: Blue Jays-Marlins Under 7.5, Estrada vs. Chen (loss)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


As usual, our bet went down to the wire last night in Miami, but unfortunately fell short with two outs remaining. Let’s just try to get that back right here.

I’ll admit, this is a pretty shaky over/under The two starters entering today’s series finale between the Twins and Rangers have combined for one career start — and it wasn’t a good one, either.

That lone start belonged to Yohan Mendez in June, one of the better pitching prospects in the Rangers organization. He looked like anything but a promising youngster after getting roughed up for six runs on six hits, including a homer, in just three innings.

 

Even so, as a Rangers fan, I’m a believer in this Mendez kid and think he could contribute a positive outing this afternoon. For one, he’s looked better more recently in the minor leagues, yielding three runs or fewer in four of his five August starts.

Additionally, Minnesota isn’t very good against left-handed pitching, ranking 23rd in the majors in team OPS with a southpaw on the mound, registering a .684 mark.

The Twins rank second-to-last in the American League in home runs versus lefties, doing so once every 42 at-bats. Not only that, they strike out once every 3.83 at-bats against left-handers, which could enable an opening for Mendez to find success.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Moya is getting set to make his first-ever major league start, and while it’s not in the most ideal situation in hitter-friendly Texas, the 23-year-old southpaw is still capable of giving us something solid to begin the ballgame, since he’s serving as Minnesota’s “opener” here.

Like the Twins, Texas whiffs at a relatively high rate versus left-handers, striking out once every 3.85 at-bats. Moya averages nearly one strikeout per inning, so this is something he can capitalize on, especially with the Rangers ranking in the top-five in punch-outs overall.

From there, it will be Zack Littell who is summoned to work as the club’s primary pitcher.

While he did not look sharp in his first taste of the big leagues earlier this summer, the former 11th-round draft pick has seemingly settled in based on his most recent work in the minors. In the last month and change, Littell held the opposition to three earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven assignments.

Perhaps the biggest tipping point in our favor might be the lineups for this finale that are missing some heavy lumber.

For the Twins, Miguel Sano, Joe Mauer and Tyler Austin are all absent from the batting order, while the Rangers are missing Joey Gallo.

Play: UNDER 11.5 (-110)

Credit:

Aug 5, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Gabriel Moya (58) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Follow Matt Zylbert on Twitter
@MattZylbert
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