The Texas Rangers (72-55) and Minnesota Twins (66-62) will continue their four-game weekend series tonight. First pitch between these two American League division leaders is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET at Target Field in Minneapolis. Dane Dunning (9-5, 3.19 ERA) will get the start for the Rangers and will go up against fellow righty Sonny Gray (6-6, 3.15 ERA) for the Twins.
Minnesota rallied late in last night’s series opener, downing Texas in a 7-5 victory. Carlos Correa drove home Matt Wallner with a double in the bottom of the eighth to tie the ballgame before pinch-hitter Ryan Jeffers blasted a two-run homer to put the Twins on top. This marked the Rangers’ seventh straight loss and their lead over the Mariners and Astros at the top of the AL West has now dwindled down to just one game.
This game is nearly a pick ‘em on the moneyline over at DraftKings Sportsbook with the Rangers at -102 and the Twins at -118. The run total is set at 8.5.
Rangers-Twins picks: Friday, August 25
Out: SP Nathan Eovaldi (elbow), DH Brad Miller (hamstring), 3B Josh Jung (thumb)
Out: SP Joe Ryan (groin), DH Byron Buxton (hamstring), 3B Jose Miranda (shoulder), 1B Alex Kirilloff (shoulder), RP Brock Stewart (elbow), OF Nick Gordon (lower leg), RP Jose De Leon (elbow), OF Willi Castro (oblique), RP Oliver Ortega (back)
Dane Dunning vs. Sonny Gray
Texas has come up short in Dunning’s previous two starts, the latest coming in the form of a 6-1 loss to the Brewers last Saturday. The righty lasted five full innings in that setback, yielding three earned runs off seven hits including a pair of home runs during the outing. No. 3 hitters are batting .305 against him this season with 10 RBI, so he’ll need to be on alert when facing either Carlos Correa or Jordan Luplow this evening.
Gray has traded wins with losses this month but has overall been solid, posting a 2.81 ERA with 32 strikeouts through four starts in August. The worst of those August starts came during last Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Pirates. yielding all four earned runs off four hits and three walks through 6.2 innings of work. An Achilles heel for him has been nine-hole batters as they’re hitting .313 off him with a .720 OPS. He needs to tread carefully in that department or else risk teeing things up for the top of a dangerous Texas lineup tonight.
On one hand, this is a battle of two quality starters who can give their respective teams a good five to six-inning effort where they minimize damage. On the other hand, the staffs of both of these clubs have been extremely vulnerable over the last week with collective ERA’s over 5.00. We could see enough runs pushed across late to tip the over and that’s what I’ll lean towards tonight.
Pick: Over 8.5
Minnesota has the seventh-best home record in the majors this season at 37-26 and in a virtual toss-up game like this one, I’ll lean with the home team. Clutch hitting late got the Twins the win in the series opener last night and I think a similar result will take place this evening.