TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION MONDAY, AUGUST 31ST
#968 MINNESOTA with Hill (+118) over Chicago with Giolito at 8:10 PM EST
Off five consecutive losses and with a 1.5-game deficit in the AL Central standings behind the Pale Hose and Tribe, the Twinkies will do what they do best – defend their home turf. Minnesota owns a reliable 12-3 mark at Target Field this season and the Twins know they need wins in this series to get back in the division race.
Left-hander Rich Hill will grab the pearl for the home team. In his last two performances against the Indians and Brewers, No. 44 pitched well enough to win but didn’t. Hill limited Cleveland and Milwaukee to only five earned runs and eight hits in 7.2 innings. Rich struck out six and walked five on his way to an 0-1 tally with a 5.87 ERA. This will be Hill’s first performance against the White Sox since 2016.
Young right-hander Lucas Giolito is back on the hill for the Pale Hose and he is in prime position to fall. In his last two outings against the Pirates and Tigers, No. 27 was right on the money allowing no earned runs and three hits (don’t forget about the “no-no” against Pittsburgh) in 16.0 frames. Giolito whiffed 26 and walked a pair on his way to a 2-0 mark with a stunning 0.00 ERA. Fortunately, with 11 career starts against the Twinkies in the books, Lucas has struggled a touch notching a stiff 4-6 mark with an elevated 5.34 ERA.
Plenty of quality investment angles line up on this wager. Minnesota has won 10 of its last 11 at home when facing a right-handed starter, 10 of its last 13 in its own backyard coming off a road trip that lasted a week or longer, 44 of its last 65 in the first game of a series and 10 of its last 13 at home against the ChiSox. On the other side of the yard, Chicago has dropped 82 of its last 121 on the road when fighting a foe that owns a team won/loss percentage of .500 or better.
With half of the shortened 2020 season in the books, the Twins are still in the hunt for the division title. Whether or not manager Rocco Baldelli’s troops stay alive in the race will likely depend on their record at Target Field the rest of the way out. Take Minnesota with Hill. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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