The Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Twins square off in the second of a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City this Friday night, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick for this American League Central showdown.
The Royals opened as slight -115 favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Twins are -105 road dogs with a total of 9.0 runs. These two foes already played a couple of three-game sets in Minneapolis in 2021. The Twins won 2-1 on the first occasion, while the Royals bounced back with a couple of wins in their last week’s meeting with Minnesota.
The Twins’ pitching staff continues to struggle
The 22-33 Minnesota Twins entered this series as the worst team in the AL Central, trailing six games behind the third-placed Royals and 11 behind the White Sox who lead the pack. The Twins have dropped four of their previous six contests, excluding Thursday’s opener against Kansas City, scoring 22 runs in the process and surrendering 34 in a return.
Minnesota’s pitching staff has been awful so far this season, sporting the sixth-highest ERA in baseball (4.67). The Twins are yielding 5.09 runs per game (27th in the majors) while scoring 4.60 in a return (12th).
Despite some injury problems (Mitch Garver, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler are all out), the Twins’ offense has done a solid job thus far, but their defense has to improve a lot. Matt Shoemaker will take the mound Friday, and he’s 2-6 with a poor 5.90 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in ten starts this season.
Shoemaker met the Royals twice this term and suffered a couple of losses. He was pounded for eight earned runs in an 11-3 defeat on May 1. Last Sunday, the 34-year-old righty yielded five earned runs in a 6-3 loss to the Royals.
The Royals continue to chase the best teams in the American League
The Kansas City Royals have been playing very well over the last few weeks, winning nine of their previous 13 games overall. They improved to 27-26 on the season following a 10-5 victory over Pittsburgh this past Tuesday, and the Royals were just two and a half games behind the Indians and five games behind the White Sox.
Kansas City is scoring 4.30 runs per game (15th in the MLB) on a .241/.305/.386 slash line. The Royals are yielding 4.57 runs in a return (19th) while posting a 4.37 ERA (tied-19th).
Brad Keller will get the starting nod Friday, and the 25-year-old right-hander is 5-4 with a 5.68 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in 11 starts this season. Keller also recorded a poor 46/25 KK/B ratio across 50.2 innings of work, but he got plenty of run support.
The righty is 1-1 in a couple of starts against the Twins in 2021. He suffered a heavy loss on May 2, 13-4, allowing seven runs (two earned) on nine hits through 4.1 frames. Last Sunday, he beat Shoemaker but yielded three earned runs on five hits and four free passes.
- 4-9 in the last 13 games against the AL Central
- 4-1 in the last five games overall
- 6-1 in the last seven games at home
These two teams know each other very well, while we saw the identical matchup on the mound just five days ago. The Royals won 6-3, so I’m going with them once more. Matt Shoemaker has been struggling mightily all season, and the Royals have been excellent at the plate lately.
However, this game could easily go either way, as Minnesota’s offense is dangerous, too. Therefore, my best betting pick is on the totals.
Pick: Take Kansas City Royals at -115
Frankly, I think that betting on the over is the best choice in this matchup. I’ve mentioned Shoemaker’s awful form, and Keller hasn’t been exactly sharp so far. Their previous encounter produced nine runs in total, and I have to mention that Minnesota’s relievers own the sixth-highest ERA in the majors (4.77) and are tied for the most losses at 14.
Furthermore, the current Royals are batting .333 against Shoemaker while posting a .865 OPS. On the other side, the current Twins are batting .264 against Keller while tallying a .880 OPS. Excluding Thursday’s opener at Kauffman Stadium, the over is 5-0-1 in the last six encounters between Minnesota and Kansas City.
Pick: Go over 9.0 runs at -115