The Diamondbacks' second-half spiral continued yesterday as they picked up their third straight loss and fourth straight series loss. Now Arizona will continue their road trip in Minnesota against another team amid a postseason push. We’ll preview the opening game of the series before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
An offense going radio silent is never good, but it’s especially bad when competing for a Wild Card spot in a crowded race. The latter is the case for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have scored three or fewer runs in six of their last ten games and are fresh off a series in San Francisco in which they lost three out of four games. The Diamondbacks' trip to the Bay Area concluded yesterday with a 1-0 loss, as they would leave 16 runners on base.
The lack of offense spoiled the best start of Brandon Pfaadt’s young career, as he gave his team seven innings of one-run baseball while picking up seven strikeouts. Getting the ball tonight will be veteran Merril Kelly for his third start back from injury. In his most recent outing against the Mariners, Kelly worked five innings and allowed three earned runs, ultimately giving him a loss since he received zero run support for the game.
Kelly will take on a Twins team tonight that bounced back nicely from getting swept by the Royals. By beating the Cardinals 5-3 yesterday, Minnesota secured a series win and brought their lead in the division up to 2.5 games. A two-run home run by Ryan Jeffers and a three-run shot by Michael Taylor would be all the team needed offensively since Twins starter Sonny Gray was able to keep the Cardinals in check for seven innings.
As the Twins look to win back-to-back games for the first time since July 23rd and 24th, they will send Bailey Ober to the mound for his 18th start of the year. After turning in a nice stretch of quality starts, the right-hander faltered against the Royals in his most recent outing, allowing six earned runs in four innings of work.
In their first home game since July 26th, the Twins are currently listed at (-127) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play. Minnesota has been victorious in nine of their last 14 home games and enters tonight with momentum on their side. Between their success at home and against right-handed pitching, I think the Twins can continue to be a profitable team to back in their ballpark.
Since July 4th, the Twins are ranked 5th in OPS and wOBA and 4th in wRC+ against right-handed pitching on the road. Those numbers set up a daunting matchup for Merril Kelly since he is in the 41st percentile in xERA/xwOBA and 38th percentile in expected batting average. Additionally, the Arizona bullpen enters tonight with a 6.06 ERA and 4.96 FIP over the last month, so Minnesota is in a good spot at the plate all game.
Conversely, the Diamondbacks are hitting .225 in road games over the past month, ranking them 18th in OPS and 19th in wRC+. Their struggling offense now has to face a starter with a 2.98 ERA at home this season and who is in the 66th percentile in xERA/xwOBA.
Minnesota Twins (-127)