Former American League rivals will get together this weekend as the Minnesota Twins host the Milwaukee Brewers for a three-game series. The Minnesota Twins are -144 over the Milwaukee Brewers in the series opener on Friday.
After a disappointing April, the Twins have started to play better in May, going 9-6 so far this month. However, Minnesota remains three games under .500 and 1.5 games behind the Indians in the AL Central after losing three of their last four games. They hope to get right back on track this weekend, but that won’t be easy against a quality Brewers team.
The Brew Crew heads to Minnesota winners of five of their last seven games, taking series against both the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Of course, Milwaukee has three other teams in the NL Central they have to keep pace with on a daily basis. The Brewers are only half a game behind the Pirates in the division, but both the Cubs and Cardinals are within two games.
Coming Into His Own
Minnesota has been pleasantly surprised this season by the presence of Friday’s starter, Kyle Gibson, in their rotation. In eight starts this season, Gibson is just 1-1, but he’s posted a 3.43 ERA, a significant improvement after pitching to an ERA over 5 each of the past two seasons. Opposing batters are hitting just .200 against him. He’s also accumulated 50 strikeouts in 44.2 innings, a rate far higher than his career numbers.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Gibson’s performance this season is that he’s been more effective against left-handed hitters than righties. That bodes well for facing hitters like Travis Shaw and Christian Yelich in the middle of Milwaukee’s order. Lorenzo Cain is also a threat, but he’s just 6 for 32 in his career against Gibson dating back to his days in Kansas City. With Eric Thames on the DL and some of Milwaukee’s ancillary hitters struggling, the Brewers are not as formidable offensively as they looked on paper heading into the season.
Giving Up the Long Ball
Lefty Brent Suter will take the mound for the Brewers Friday night. He looked like a keeper after posting a 3.42 ERA for the Brewers last season, but it’s been a struggle for Suter early in 2018, going 2-3 with a 5.14 ERA. Suter’s biggest problem has been the long ball, giving up seven on the season and two in each of his last couple outings. He’s also struggling to go deep in games, which will put some pressure on Milwaukee’s bullpen.
The good news for Suter is that the Twins are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the American League. Left fielder Eddie Rosario and third baseman Eduardo Escobar are both having strong seasons. However, Brian Dozier has been underwhelming, Logan Morrison is hitting just .206, Joe Mauer is devoid of power, and Miguel Sano is on the DL. Despite his struggles this season, the Twins could end up being a good matchup for Suter.
Bet on the Brew Crew
Despite Suter’s struggles in his has couple outings, the Twins don’t have the kind of potent lineup that can get to him early. If Suter can just give the Brewers five decent innings, their bullpen can take it from there. The Minnesota bullpen is not quite as strong, and that’ll end up being the difference. Take the Milwaukee Brewers +144 over the Minnesota Twins in a Major League Baseball affair on Friday.