Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz watches his grand slam during the second inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Monday, April 5, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
- After the Twins demolished the Tigers on Monday, the second game of their series goes from Comerica Park on Tuesday at 1:10 pm EST
- Minnesota sends JA Happ to the mound in his Twins debut; the Tigers counter with Casey Mize
- See the odds and best bet for this AL Central matchup
After taking two of three from the Indians to open the season, the Detroit Tigers were probably feeling pretty good.
Then Monday happened.
After back-to-back wins over the Brewers, the Minnesota Twins throttled the Tigers. Minny scored five in the second and fifth innings, cruising to a 15-6 win.
Detroit will look for revenge with Casey Mize on the mound, making his eighth career start. The Twins counter with JA Happ in his Minnesota debut. First pitch is set for 1:10 pm EST at Comerica Park.
Twins vs Tigers Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Runline at DraftKings||Total|
|Minnesota Twins||-155||-1.5 (+120)||Over 9.5 (-114)|
|Detroit Tigers||+130||+1.5 (-143)||Under 9.5 (-106)|
Odds as of April 5th
The Twins vs Tigers odds open with Minny as the favorite, and the 9.5 total was probably bumped up slightly after Monday’s display.
In 2020, the season series was closer than many may have expected. The Twins won it 6-4, but five of those wins were by two runs or less. Six of those ten games finished under 9.5 combined runs.
Mize Hopes to Muster His Best
The first overall pick in 2018, Casey Mize made seven starts for the Tigers in 2020. Understandably he was faced with his share of struggles following the stopping-and-starting of the shortened season.
And thanks to a schedule composed primarily of divisional play, the Twins got a front row seat to Mize’s debut.
Twins Career Stats vs Casey Mize
Three of Mize’s seven starts came against Minnesota last season, resulting in an 8.49 ERA. Of the four teams Mize faced, three of them tagged him with an ERA above 7.00.
2021 AL Rookie Of The Year Odds
Randy Arozarena, TB +350
Wander Franco,TB +1000
Jarred Kelenic, SEA +1000
Andrew Vaughn, CWS +1100
Ryan Mountcastle, BAL +1200
Adley Rutschman, BAL +1200
Bobby Dalbec, BOS +1500
Casey Mize, DET +1500
Nate Pearson, TOR +1500#MLB #OpeningDay
— SportsBettingDime (@SBD) April 1, 2021
It wasn’t all bad though. While the rookie gave up 11 hits and six walks in 12 innings of work against Minnesota, he also struck out 11. The punch-outs have been on the rise for Mize through the Spring as well. He finished with 27 in 18.2 innings.
Cruz Looms Large Over Tigers
The one player on the Twins Mize didn’t get a feel for was Nelson Cruz. Cruz and Mize faced off just once, with the veteran walking.
But the rookie better watch out, because Cruz absolutely crushed it Monday.
Age is but a number for Nelson Cruz as he hits A BOOMSTICK GRAND SLAM 💥pic.twitter.com/2oZn93qYsq
— BroBible (@BroBible) April 5, 2021
The ageless veteran went 3-for-6 with a pair of homers and five RBI in the series opener. The two big flies were his first of the year, as he was benched in the DH-less National League.
Regardless, prior to 2020 Cruz had hit at least 37 homers in six-straight seasons. His 16 in 2020 translate to 42 over a conservative estimate of 140 games. He continues to be a game-changer.
Happ’s New Home
While it’s the highly-touted youngster on one side, veteran JA Happ opens up his 15th MLB season and first with the Twins.
Although he’s bounced around, Happ has staying power. Tuesday will be his 299th career start and he’s in search of career win number 124.
Tigers Career Stats vs JA Happ
Despite his lengthy career, no one on the Tigers has really dominated Happ. Goodrum and Candelario have had cold starts to the season, and so has Schoop. Jones, Mazara and Ramos could cause the lefty a bit of trouble, but it’ll be interesting to see if Happ faces Detroit’s hottest bat.
Baddoo Bringing It So Far
A Rule 5 Pick from the Twins this past Winter, Akil Baddoo has been an early feel-good story.
Baddoo has two homers in two days, including a grand slam on Monday against the Twins. He also hit five homers in Spring Training, but as a left-handed bat, it’s possible AJ Hinch avoids the lefty-lefty match-up entirely.
— MLB (@MLB) April 5, 2021
Pack Up the Fireworks
While he did struggle with control early in March, Mize was able to clean things up as the regular season approached. And Hinch has not hidden the fact that he thinks Mize earned his spot in the rotation.
Mize will look entirely different than his 2020 self on Tuesday. While it may not result in a win, he’ll keep Detroit competitive in a tight one.
The Pick: Under 9.5 (-106)
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Bryan has spent the last decade working in the sports industry. He can be found conducting sideline interviews for SKY Sports and gathering post-match reactions for BBC. The sportcaster’s broadcasts stream on CBC Sports, Game TV, and Premier TV in the UK.