Kyle Gibson (8-9, 3.96 ERA) and Scott Kazmir (7-8, 2.39 ERA) start in the first of a three-game series between the Minnesota Twins (65-62) and the Houston Astros (71-57) at Target Field. Action begins at 8:10 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 28 and can be seen on FSN and RTSW.
Gibson pitched 5.2 innings in his last outing, surrendering two runs, striking out two and walking four in a 3-2 defeat to the Orioles. Brian Dozier (.244, 87 Rs, 26 HRs, 66 RBIs, 10 SBs) went 1 for 3 yesterday with one run. Kazmir went 6.0 innings, surrendering one run, striking out eight and walking one in a 3-1 win over the Dodgers in his most recent start. George Springer (.264, 43 Rs, 13 HRs, 29 RBIs, 14 SBs) went 1 for 2 Wednesday with one run and one stolen base.
Houston takes on Minnesota as a -140 favorite. The Over/Under (O/U) for the matchup is sitting at eight runs. The Twins have an overall money line of +1,747 and a record as the underdog of 50-51. Minnesota has gone 7-3 in its last 10 as underdog. The Twins have seen an uptick in scoring as of late, averaging 6.0 runs during the last 10 games compared to their season average of 4.4 runs per game. Turning to the pitchers, the Twins are the top team in the AL at limiting walks during home games, allowing only 2.2 walks per contest to their opponents this season.
In games where it is the favorite, Houston has a 41-29 record and an overall money line of +931. The Astros are an excellent base stealing team with 97 stolen bases, ranking third in the MLB. Houston's pitching staff has set the standard for its league, with an AL-low 3.25 ERA. When it comes to preventing batters from getting on base, the Astros are one of the best in the league with a WHIP of 1.17 for the season.
The Twins have a 22-20 record against left-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Kazmir takes the mound. Gibson (RHP) will be on the hill against the Astros, who have a 46-37 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - Hou, O/U - Over
When leading after 7 innings, Houston is 29-20, while Minnesota is 21-22.
The Astros managed to give up four walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Twins who are heading in with a 23-7 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
When they outhit their opponents, the Astros are 50-13. The Twins have a 45-6 record when outhitting opponents.
Tied at 10th for total runs, Minnesota and Houston have each notched 553 runs this season.
Ranking 23rd, Minnesota is near the bottom of the league in walks, notching 316 this season. Houston ranks in the top 10 at eighth with 383.
When the Twins hit at least one home run, they are 49-28, well-matched with the Astros who are 59-34 when hitting one or more homers.