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Twins vs. Reds MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Back Minnesota as Underdog (Wednesday, August 4)

Twins vs. Reds MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Back Minnesota as Underdog (Wednesday, August 4) article feature image

Ron Vesely/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Donaldson.

  • Cincinnati hosts Minnesota for the first MLB game of the day on Wednesday.
  • The Twins were sellers at the trade deadline and are big underdogs today, but Cincinnati's bullpen could be problematic for the Reds.
  • BJ Cunningham explains below why the bullpen issues may be enough to push Minnesota over the top.

Twins vs. Reds Odds

Twins Odds+172
Reds Odds-205
Over/Under9.5 (-118/-104)
Time12:35 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday and via FanDuel.

The Reds continue their push for a playoff spot on Wednesday when they host the lowly Twins at Great American Ballpark.

The Twins are well out of the playoff picture and were forced to become sellers at the deadline, shipping off Nelson Cruz to the Rays and Jose Berrios to the Blue Jays.

Minnesota‘s starting rotation and bullpen have been abysmal this season and are the reasons for the massive regression from 2020. However, their offense has been above average, and they’ll need them to be clicking on all cylinders Wednesday if they are going to out-slug the Reds.

Cincinnati is slowly creeping back into the playoff picture, as they are only five games back of San Diego in the Wild Card. The Reds are a very interesting team because up until this point in the season, their offense has been incredible and their starting rotation has been solid, but they have the worst bullpen in all of baseball. They’ll send Luis Castillo to the mound in hopes he can give the bullpen a rest on Wednesday afternoon.

Offensive Matchup

Minnesota Twins

The Twins became sellers at the trade deadline since they are out of the playoff picture. They dealt one of their best hitters in Nelson Cruz to the Rays, but even though Cruz is gone, this Twins lineup is still pretty deadly.

Minnesota has a .323 wOBA against right-handed pitching and absolutely crushes fastballs. They’re the number one team in baseball against fastballs with a +49.7 run value. However, they have negative run values against every other pitch type, so I’d imagine Castillo will lean on his changeup and sinker quite often.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have one of the most electric offenses in all of baseball. As a team they have a .329 wOBA and 102 wRC+, which is the sixth best mark in all of baseball. Joey Votto, Kyle Farmer and Jonathan India all have been crushing the ball over the past month, as they all have a wOBA over .400, and Votto himself has homered nine time in his last nine games. However, the Reds are currently without one of their best hitters, Nick Castellanos, who is currently on the IL recovering from a wrist injury.

Most of the Reds success has come against right-handed pitching (.335 wOBA, 106 wRC+), but they haven’t hit left-handed pitching well at all (.309 wOBA, 89 wRC+)., so Charlie Barnes may actually have some success in his second big league start.

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Starting Pitching Matchup

Charlie Barnes vs. Luis Castillo

2021 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Twins Starting Pitcher

Charlie Barnes, LHP

Charlie Barnes made his major league debut on July 17, going only 4 and 1/3 innings against Detroit, giving up four hits and one run.

Barnes was a fourth-round pick of the Twins in 2017 and has spent the last five years in the minors putting up pretty average numbers. In fact, in 13 starts in Triple A this season, Barnes put up an xFIP of 4.70.

He’s mainly a sinker/changeup type of pitcher, living down in the zone trying to get ground balls, but his ground ball rate for his career in the minors was below 50%. He will have a decent matchup against the Reds, who don’t hit left-handed pitching that well.

Reds Starting Pitcher

Luis Castillo, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Luis Castillo has taken a step back from his stellar 2020 season, but he is still pitching well, posting a 3.91 xERA and 3.86 xFIP. One thing he has improved is he’s not allowing a lot of hard contact. His hard hit % allowed is at 25.9%, which is the second best mark among qualified starting pitchers.

Where Castillo has been dominating is with his changeup and his slider. His changeup is one of the nastiest pitches in baseball, and opponents only have a .266 xwOBA against it this season.

Luis Castillo changeup update: Still filthy.

— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 7, 2021

His slider has also been on point, allowing a .139 batting average and .198 wOBA to opposing hitter this season. The Twins have a negative run value against both pitches, so I expect Castillo to lean on both of those pitches quite often this afternoon.

Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

This will be a battle between two of the worst bullpens in Major League Baseball. Both the Reds and the Twins are bottom five in ERA, LOB%, and hard hit % allowed. So, this game could get out of hand when we get to the later innings.

Twins-Reds Pick

Even though the starting pitching matchup doesn’t favor the Twins, I think they are a tad undervalued, given the fact that the Reds don’t hit left-handed pitching well and have one of the worst bullpens in baseball.

Since I have the Twins projected at +154, I think there is some value on them at +172, but I would only play it down to +170.

Pick: Twins +172

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