Dog of the day: The Twins should avoid a sweep by the Yankees

·2-min read

This has not been the season the Minnesota Twins envisioned in March.

The reigning AL Central champions followed up a 101-win season in 2019 with a 36-24 record in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season to win a second consecutive AL Central crown. That 2019 title wasn’t out of nowhere either; the Twins finished second in the division in 2017 and 2018.

Second sounds pretty nice right about now. The Twins are 24-37 and fifth in the AL Central behind both the retooling Kansas City Royals and rebuilding Detroit Tigers.

A big part of that futility has been due to injury. Twelve Twins are currently on the injured list, including star centerfielder Byron Buxton. He had an OPS of 1.180 in 98 plate appearances when he went on the IL in early May. Eighteen position players have had at least 30 plate appearances so far in 2021. It’s been a mess in Minneapolis.

There’s reason to be confident on Thursday night, however. The Twins finish their series with the Yankees at 8:10 p.m. ET as J.A. Happ takes the mound against Michael King.

The Twins are 1.5-run underdogs at -135 at BetMGM. If you like them straight up, you can get them at +115 — a far better value than the Yankees at -140. The over/under for the game is 11. Fifteen runs were scored on Wednesday night in the Yankees' win while 12 runs were scored on Tuesday night in another Yankees win. 

We like the Twins straight up and possibly parlayed with the under. King has a 3.62 ERA and 25 strikeouts but hasn’t been very good as a starter. The swingman has been strong as a reliever but has a 7.89 ERA in the six games he’s started. 

Granted, that’s not a small sample size. But it’s enough to make us like the Twins with Happ on the mound. He hasn’t been great this year — his ERA is well north of 5 — but the Yankees have a team OPS of .698 against lefties. The Twins should avoid the sweep on Thursday.

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