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MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Twins: Fade Minnesota’s Bullpen Against Houston (Saturday, June 12)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Twins: Fade Minnesota’s Bullpen Against Houston (Saturday, June 12) article feature image

John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Luis Garcia.

  • Houston and Minnesota play the second of a three-game set on Saturday night with both teams sending strong starters to the mound.
  • The Twins are slight favorites to win the game with Jose Berrios facing off against Houston's Luis Garcia.
  • D.J. James explains below why he's leaning towards Garcia and the Astros to not need the bullpen as much.

Astros vs. Twins Odds

Astros Odds -108
Twins Odds -100
Over/Under 9.5
Time 7:15 p.m. ET
TV FOX (Regional)
Odds as of Friday and via PointsBet.

Two similar starters take the hill in a battle between the best of the American League West in the Houston Astros and an underachieving Minnesota Twins squad.

José Berríos duels Luis García in this one with the Twins getting a slight edge on the line with their established veteran. Is Luis García that underrated, or does José Berríos have the advantage here?

Can García Keep Astros Bullpen Off The Hook?

The Houston Astros rank third overall in baseball, as of Friday, in run differential at +76, whereas the Twins have faltered from their 2019 and 2020 success down to -40. Houston has a massive advantage here with the sticks.

Outside of Martín Maldonado, the entire Houston lineup mashes right-handed pitching. Missing Aledmys Díaz is a blow to the Astros, but having seven players with a wRC+ over 120 against righties is a leg up on nearly every team in the majors. This offsets any advantage Berríos may have given the Twins.

Houston’s crux is their bullpen, where they rank second-to-last in all of baseball in fWAR (-0.3). The reason here is they have six contributing bullpen pieces all out on the injured list. Essentially, this leaves high-leverage relief opportunities up to Ryan Pressly. However, Luis García has flaunted his ability to go deeper into games. The 24-year-old has gone at least five in every start since early May, so this is encouraging, given the only part of the Astros that is not producing is the bullpen.

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Twins Lack Strong Bottom Of The Order

The Twins have the same issue. They rank 23rd in value from their relief core, so they do not have much of an advantage over the short-handed Astros bullpen. Taylor Rogers is an encouraging option, but if the Astros knock Berríos out of the game early, they will have some issues in the middle relief portion of the ballgame.

A few critical injuries (Caleb Thielbar, Devin Smeltzer and Shaun Anderson) hinder their ability to gain any ground in the American League Central, but mostly, underperformances from the back-end relievers, like Álex Colomé, have put this team in a terrible position to succeed.

Early MVP contender, Byron Buxton, being out is a huge blow to the mainstays of this Minnesota lineup. He is finally on his rehabilitation stint in AAA, so his return will boost an ailing squad. He is their best option against righties this season. They are an above average team, when facing a right-hander, but the bottom of the order lacks the wherewithal to succeed.

Max Kepler and Luis Arráez are two of their best options in this position, so being without them is yet another blockade in the way of advancing past the young Astros starter. Given this reason, the Astros have yet another advantage over the Twinkies.

Astros-Twins Pick

When it comes down to it, getting even money for the Houston Astros, given their ability to hit right-handers and their strong starting pitching, is a handout. Their bullpen is incredibly undermanned at the moment, but since the Twins have similar relief issues, this does not concern me.

The Twins have their standard pieces in the lineup who can hit righties, but not to the level of the Astros, where they have literally only one weak spot matching up with José Berríos. Luis García versus Berríos is a shocking wash, so neither team has the starting pitching advantage expected. This is a great pitching duel amongst starters, but the bullpens will most likely come into play.

Whichever gives up less opportunities with men on base will most likely come home the winner in this one. Take the Astros to -120. They should be able to get to Berríos early.

Pick: Houston Astros -108, play to -120

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