The Minnesota Twins have been trying, with some success, to claw their way back into contention in the American League Central after a disastrous start to this season. But they've taken a couple steps backward the last couple of days, losing the first two games of a four-game home series with the division-leading Detroit Tigers. Saturday the Twins will try to get back on the comeback trail when they and the Tigers play their game three at Target Field (4:10 pm Eastern, Fox).
Detroit won the opener of this series Thursday night 6-2 behind another good start from Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander. The Tigers then took game two Friday night 8-2, getting a quality outing from starter Max Scherzer and four RBI from Jhonny Peralta.
So going into Saturday Detroit, winners of four of its last five, leads the AL Central by a game and a half over second-place Cleveland, five games over the third-place White Sox and seven games over fourth-place Minnesota, which has lost four of its last six.
The Tigers are now 7-0 against the Twins this season. And six of those games have played over their posted totals, because Detroit is averaging better than seven runs per game vs. Minnesota this season.
Brad Penny (7-6, 4.47) gets the start Saturday for Detroit against Scott Baker (7-5, 3.01) for Minnesota. As of Saturday morning BetOnline.com is listing the Twins as -134 favorites for Saturday afternoon's game, with an over/under of 8.5. Minnesota is also moneylined at +150, with the Tigers getting the run and a half at -170.
Penny has won his last two starts despite allowing seven earned runs on 15 hits in 13 innings of work. The Tigers are 10-9 in Penny's starts this season, with the over/unders going 10-8.
In his only start this season vs. Minnesota back in May Penny got clipped for five ER on 10 hits in six IP, although Detroit managed to win that game 6-5.
Baker is making his first start since going on the DL earlier this month with a sore elbow. Which was too bad, because he had been going pretty good. In his last five starts before his injury Baker had allowed just five ER on 26 hits in 36 IP. Despite some good numbers, though, the Twins are only 7-10 in Baker's starts this season, with the over/unders also going 7-10.
Baker has started twice this season vs. Detroit, giving up nine ER on 13 hits and eight walks in 10 1/3 IP. Minnesota lost both those games.
Detroit is 24-24 on the road this season, while Minnesota is 25-24 at home.
The over/unders are 53-39 in Tigers games this season, 45-48 in Twins games, and 26-22 in games played at Target Field.
As for Saturday's game neither starting pitcher has fared too well recently vs. these opponents, so we'll go with the over 8.5 on the total.