The Minnesota Twins have the lead in the American League Central race and will look to pad that advantage further at home on Saturday with the Toronto Blue Jays in town.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Minnesota Twins (-110, 8)
The Twins will look to chase Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt from this start early as his underlying point to a likelihood that the streak of 23 scoreless innings we saw earlier this month was a fluke.
In his last start, Bassitt surrendered six runs, though just two were earned, with three home runs allowed to bring his ERA to 3.03 this season.
With Bassitt averaging 7.5 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings and opponents hitting .199 on batted balls in play, he owns the biggest gap in fielding independent to ERA among qualifying starting pitchers with a 4.93 FIP.
The bullpen backing up Bassitt also has issues, entering the series 15th in the league in bullpen ERA while the Twins are 11th in this department, which has been even better in the past 30 days, ranking ninth.
Twins starter Pablo Lopez will look to ensure the bullpen does not get used heavily as he’s went at least six innings in seven of his last nine starts.
Lopez’s 3.90 ERA is a bit misleading as he has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his 10 starts this season, posting a 3.61 FIP with 11.3 strikeouts and 2.6 walks per nine innings and two runs or fewer allowed in three of his last four starts.
Though the Twins have been one of the worst teams in the league in batting average, entering the series 26th in the league in this category, the team is sixth in home runs to register five runs per game at home this season.
With the Blue Jays having a tough time pitching away from home; as a collective posting a 3.20 ERA at home compared to a 4.69 road ERA entering the series, the Twins will get a win on Saturday to help further their lead in the American League Central.
The Play: Twins -110