Minnesota (41-33) at Cleveland (36-32)
When: Monday, June 27th 2022
Where: Progressive Field,
Time: 7:10 ET | TV: MLB.tv
Opening Odds: Minnesota -115/8.5
The Cleveland Guardians’ rise back to the top of the American League Central stalled over the weekend and the team now finds themselves back in second place behind the Minnesota Twins. These two teams begin an important five-game series on Monday night at Progressive Field with the Twins holding a two-game lead over the Guardians heading into the new week. After losing two of three to the Guardians last week, the Twins responded by taking two of three from the Colorado Rockies, limiting them to just four total runs. Byron Buxton fell a homer short of the cycle in Sunday’s 6-3 win and leads the Twins with 19 home runs on the season. Leadoff hitter Luis Arraez collected two more hits to raise his average to .349.
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Meanwhile, the Guardians ran into a red-hot Boston team and have now dropped four games in a row after briefly taking the division lead last week. Cleveland was outscored 18-8 in the series, including 8-3 on Sunday. Despite the current losing skid, the Guardians are still a top ten team in both hitting (.250) and team ERA (3.75). Tristan McKenzie will face the Twins for the third time this season, while Sonny Gray will get his third crack at Cleveland as the Minnesota starter on Monday. The teams will play two games on Tuesday before single games on both Wednesday and Thursday. The Twins took three of four the last time they visited Progressive Field in 2021 including two shutouts.
Pitchers: Twins – Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.53) | Guardians – Tristan McKenzie (4-5, 3.51)
Gray has been involved in a couple of wild games between the two teams this season and has not been sharp in either. The veteran right-hander was roughed up for eight hits and four runs over four innings in last week’s 11-10 loss and walked four in a 12-8 win over Cleveland on May 13. Gray is 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts against Cleveland, but 2-3 with a 5.28 ERA in five starts at Progressive Field.
McKenzie does not have good lifetime numbers against Minnesota, going 1-4 with a 6.39 ERA in six career starts. He opposed Gray in last week’s matchup and allowed nine hits and six runs over 4 1/3 innings. On the season, McKenzie has allowed five home runs in two starts against the Twins.
Cleveland was one of the hottest teams in the league before running into an even hotter team over the weekend, while the Twins beat up on the lowly Rockies. The Guardians are best in game one of a series, going 14-9 on the season, including 7-1 in their last eight. I’m giving McKenzie the slight edge over Gray in this one at home.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free MLB Picks page for today.
Pick: Guardians +105