By Charles Jay
Whether or not the Minnesota Twins consider themselves a genuine challenger for a playoff spot, they have to continue soldiering forward. Otherwise, they will go into a “rebuilding” mode just like the San Diego Padres, their opponents in a game that is set to get underway at 10:10 PM ET at Petco Park. America’s Bookie customers can get two different “Live Betting” options to stay in the action even after the first pitch is thrown.
Of course, the numbers are the numbers, and the Twins are not out of the race for one of the American League’s two wild card spots. They trail the Kansas City Royals, who reside within their own division, by 4.5 games, although there are six different teams legitimately chasing this thing down at the moment.
The Padres’ main consolation this season is that they have now gone eight games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the National League West, although their 47-58 record doesn’t have them anywhere close to playoff contention. So they were supposed to be “sellers” at the trade deadline, but they didn’t trade their most valuable piece, relief pitcher Brad Hand, Will that turn out to be a mistake?
Jose Berrios (9-4, 3.76 ERA) will take the mound for the Twins, while Jhoulys Chacin (10-7, 4.22 ERA), who has gone five straight starts without losing, will get the assignment for the Padres.
In the baseball betting odds that have been posted on this game, the game is a pick’em proposition:
Minnesota Twins (Berrios) -110
San Diego Padres (Chacin) -110
Over 8 Runs -115
Under 8 Runs -105
Twins’ management had to make a decision as to whether they considered themselves real contenders or not just recently. They went out and made a deal to get veteran lefty Jaime Garcia from the Atlanta Braves, to put some depth into the rotation. There was a holdup on the transaction, because of questions on the part of Atlanta about the physical condition of prospect Nick Burdi, who was coming to them. By the time everything had gotten cleared up, Garcia had made another start for the Braves, winning at Dodger Stadium, and the Twins had gone through a rough patch, which apparently shifted their mindset. So when Garcia arrived, he made a start for them while he was being shopped. And reportedly there were other people Minnesota made available, like Ervin Santana, who was leading the AL in ERA in late May.
They dealt Garcia off to the Yankees, which probably makes a statement as to where they are right now. And where they are is a loser of eleven of their last 14 road games, after being very strong as the visitor on the way to the AL Central lead.
Berrios lasted only four innings against the Dodgers a week ago, and he has been up and down, mostly down lately. He has only one Game Score above 48 in his last six starts, although in none of his last three appearances has he allowed a homer.
Chacin, on the other hand, has averaged a Game Score of 59 over his last nine starts. Over that period he’s got a 2.59 ERA. So he has been steady. And he has taken advantage of the fact that Petco is a pitcher’s ballpark, with a 2.05 ERA and 1.01 WHIP ratio. This is someone who is definitely on the upswing.
Minnesota was at one point a very good bet on the road, but that has changed, as they have dropped eleven of their last 14 games as the visitor. Ironically, their only win in the last seven came with the now-departed Garcia on the mound. And they have traded their closer, Brandon Kintzler, to Washington. Let’s cast a vote for Jhoulys Chacin and the Padres in this pick’em game, as the Charles Jay / America’s Bookie Challenge continues on Tuesday night.