Sonny Gray, one of this season’s toughest pitchers, leads the Minnesota Twins (19-14) into Progressive Field on Saturday as they match up against the Cleveland Guardians (14-18). The Twins took Friday’s series opener 2-0.
Bailey Ober threw seven scoreless innings for the win, and Jhoan Duran earned his seventh save with a scoreless ninth.Max Kepler was 1 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs in the win. Josh Naylor went 1 for 4 with a double for the Guardians.
ON THE MOUND
Gray (4-0, 0.77 ERA) is slated to start for Minnesota. The righty leads MLB in ERA. He also ranks fourth in the AL in wins. Gray allowed one run over six innings in his last start, an 8-4 road win over the Royals on Sunday. He got the win, scattering five hits while striking out seven and walking one.
Gray is making his first appearance against the Guardians this season. Over four starts against the Guardians in 2022, Gray was 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA over 17.1 innings. He had 16 strikeouts and six walks.
For Cleveland, left-hander Logan Allen (1-1, 2.45 ERA) will toe the rubber. It’s his first appearance of the season against the Twins. In his last start on Sunday, Allen took the loss on the road against the Red Sox. He threw five innings and gave up two runs on four hits, striking out eight and walking two in the 7-1 defeat.
AT THE PLATE
Over the last five games, Minnesota has averaged 4.6 runs a game, equal to their season average. Against lefties like Allen this season, the Twins have a .632 OPS, third lowest in the league. Carlos Correa is the team’s best performer against left-handers with a .818 OPS in 16 at-bats.
Cleveland is averaging only 1.8 runs per game in the last five, down from 3.6 for the season, with their slash line slipping across the board (.160/.222/.184).
The Guardians have a .633 OPS against right-handers in 2023, third lowest in MLB. With a .970 OPS over 83 at-bats, Jose Ramirez has been their best hitter against right-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Minnesota is 9-8 away from Target Field in 2023, scoring 4.4 runs per game while allowing 3.3 runs. Cleveland has gone 4-9 at home this season, averaging 2.7 runs per game while surrendering 4.5. Cleveland is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings at Progressive Field with an average scoreline of 4.2-3.6.
The Twins lead the AL Central by four games over the Tigers. The Guardians are third in the AL Central, four games behind the Twins.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
Cleveland Guardians (-110)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.