Mariners vs. Twins Odds, Pick & Preview: Is Seattle’s Chris Flexen Due For Some Regression? (April 11)
David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton
- The Twins are slight home favorites against Chris Flexen and the Mariners on Monday night.
- Minnesota's bats have been hot to start the season and it will hope Dylan Bundy can get off to a nice start after a rough 2021.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Mariners vs. Twins Odds
|Over/Under||9 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||7:40 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
With the first weekend of Major League Baseball in the books, it’s likely still too early to draw any definitive conclusions on the season. However, the standings show that the clubs with better lineups are off to a decent start thus far. Of course, that distinction doesn’t apply to every team, as the Minnesota Twins are 1-2 on the year despite their acquisition of highly-sought-after free agent Carlos Correa.
On Monday night, the Twins will try to get back to .500 when they wrap up a four-game series with the visiting Seattle Mariners. While there’s no question of the quality of hitters in Minnesota’s lineup, the pitching will likely be its biggest question mark. The Twins also signed free-agent right-hander Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal to address that concern.
While Bundy may be considered a stopgap, this is a classic buy-low situation on a pitcher who struggled for much of last season.
Will Mariners’ Flexen Regress?
The Mariners will hand the ball to their right-hander, Chris Flexen, as they try to clinch the four-game series. Flexen was a revelation for Seattle in 2021 after going 14-6 with a 3.61 ERA. Ironically, he wasn’t even in the majors two years ago as he ventured to Korea to find work as a pitcher.
Through 21 starts in the Korea Baseball Organization, Flexen went 8-4 with a 3.01 ERA. Before that season, he went 0-3 with a 6.59 ERA in 2019 with the Mets. While it’s certainly possible that Flexen’s a bit of a late bloomer, he’ll face the ultimate challenge of trying to replicate that performance from a year ago.
It won’t be easy, as his advanced numbers point to some regression. Per FanGraphs, his 4.27 xERA, 3.89 FIP, and 4.56 xFIP were higher than his traditional ERA last season.
However, when it’s this early in the season, I tend to focus on a pitcher’s SIERA number because it can often be valuable as a projection for an upcoming season. Thus, it’s worth noting that Flexen finished the season with a 4.70 SIERA, which was also higher than his ERA. On Monday, he’ll face a Twins team with a .338/.338/.521 line against him in 41 at-bats.
I’m not one to pay much attention to spring training, but Flexen also posted a 7.31 ERA in four starts. What’s even worse is that he gave up seven home runs in just 16 innings. In 2021, Flexen gave up just two home runs during his 16 innings of work during the spring. M
innesota already leads the league with a .295 ISO. And with 8-10 mph winds blowing out to the center field at the start of the game, it could be a long night for the Mariners right-hander.
Twins’ Bats Hot Early
After scoring four runs through the first two games, Minnesota’s bats erupted for 10 runs on 10 hits on Sunday. Five of those 10 hits left the ballpark as souvenirs to the delight of Twins fans. The big thumpers in Minnesota’s lineup did their part as Correa, Gary Sánchez and Jorge Polanco went deep. Byron Buxton and Max Kepler also contributed with home runs of their own.
Buxton is Minnesota’s lead-off hitter, and he could be an MVP candidate if he’s able to stay healthy and remain on the field. The Georgia native hit 19 home runs in just 235 at-bats with the Twins last season. Kepler plays next to Buxton in right field and is also the ninth-place hitter. Like Buxton, he also hit 19 home runs in 2021.
There aren’t any easy outs when you go up and down this Minnesota lineup. That’s why there’s so much optimism that surrounds the team at the moment. If the Twins can get any stability from their pitchers, there’s no reason why they can’t be a legitimate playoff contender.
The Twins will hope Bundy can provide that stability and bounce back from going 2-9 with a 6.06 ERA in 23 appearances last season. After all, during the 2020 shortened season, he went 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts. Last year, Bundy suffered a shoulder strain and even finished the season on the 60-day IL. The injury could be the reason why his numbers were so poor.
Even with his high ERA, his advanced numbers pointed to some positive regression when you consider he had a lower xERA (4.79), FIP (5.51) and xFIP (4.66). His 4.56 SIERA also paints a more promising outlook for this season. Moreover, he’s looked much better this spring as he posted a 3.00 ERA in three starts.
Bundy should be familiar with some of the Mariners’ hitters after facing them in the AL West when he was with the Angels. Seattle’s current lineup has a .247/.309/.492 split against him in 33 at-bats.
Pitching in a new city and with a new club could be the right elixir for Bundy to regain his form from two years ago. If anyone can use a fast start to the season, it’s certainly him.
It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold for Flexen and Bundy this season. The experience could certainly be different for both pitchers in terms of who’ll have success or failure.
While I remain bullish on the Mariners, I’m not sure this is a matchup that suits them given the possible regression that could be in the cards for Flexen.
I did some poking in our BetLabs database and found that as a home favorite, the Minnesota Twins are 48-21 for 12.33 units after scoring at least 10 runs in their previous game. That’s a trend I can get behind, and I like their value at -125 over at BetMGM.
I would play this number up to -135.
Pick: Twins (-125)