Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Anyone for a Tampa Bay Rays-Minnesota Twins ALDS or ALCS? Could happen, although the various networks that televise Major League Baseball’s playoffs would hate that with two small-market, rather anonymous teams. The Rays and Twins open a three-game series at Target Field on Tuesday. Minnesota will be the series betting favorite, and opened as -120 chalk for Tuesday’s contest at sportsbooks.
It’s too early to say any team is a “lock” anything in MLB, but the Twins would have to suffer a mega-collapse to not win the AL Central Division for the first time since 2010. Minnesota is easily the biggest surprise in baseball under first-year manger Rocco Baldelli, who has to be the leading AL Manager of the Year candidate. After finishing 23rd in the majors last year in home runs, the Twins are first in 2019 with 147 and on a potential record pace. Just not sure they have the pitching to really be taken seriously as pennant contenders.
Tampa Bay led the AL East for much of the season but has fallen off a bit. It still leads the AL Wild-Card race. It’s a credit to this team’s front office that the Rays annually overachieve because they have the worst stadium situation in the four major American pro sports leagues, draw no fans and have the lowest payroll in the majors.
Things are so bad that last week news broke that Rays ownership has gotten permission from MLB to check the feasibility of the team playing half its games in the Tampa Bay area and half in Montreal a few years down the road. Likely way too many obstacles for that to happen – No. 1 being both areas building a new stadium for just a half-season of games.
Tampa Bay lost three of four at home against Minnesota from May 30-April 2. Every game was decided by at least two runs. The Twins hit .296 as a team and scored 26 runs. Jason Castro was 5-for-7 in the series, while both Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton hit .385 and combined for seven RBI. Buxton is currently on the injured list with a wrist issue.
The Rays hit .271 in the series and scored 23 runs – many of them coming in a 14-3 victory in the opener. Willy Adames was 6-for-17 in the series, while Austin Meadows was 6-for-18 with six RBI and four runs scored. Christian Arroyo had two homers in the series but is now on the injured list. So is fellow third baseman/infielder Yandy Diaz.