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The Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins will close out a four-game series tonight in Target Field. Baseball handicapper Ben Rajavuori breaks down the game and shares his pick.
ANALYSIS

Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners Prediction:

The Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins will close out a four-game series tonight in Target Field. The Mariners got the better of the twins in the first two, but the Twins were able to put on an offensive show yesterday, putting up ten runs with six homers. The Twins will look to even the series tonight with starter Dylan Bundy, and the Mariners will start Chris Flexen.

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Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners Prediction

The Twins made a few big trades in the offseason to improve their bats. They picked up catcher Gary Sánchez and infielder Gio Urshela from the Yankees and Carlos Correa from the Astros on a big deal. The Twins lineup won't be much good, however, if their pitching doesn't execute.

In an effort to improve the rotation, the Twins signed Dylan Bundy from the Angels to a one-year deal. Bundy had a 6.06 earned run average in 2021 with a 1.36 WHIP over 90.2 innings. He did improve later in the year and actually posted his best month in August, with a 3.31 earned run average. A look back further shows he may have a bounce-back season. In eleven starts in 2020, he posted a 3.29 earned run average with a 6-3 record. Perhaps the switch to a new team will provide some positive regression closer to his 2020 season.

The Twins lineup is scary, and if Byron Buxton can stay healthy, he could be a serious MVP candidate. The Twins have no shortage of firepower in their bats, and seven of the nine members in the lineup have at least one home run through the first three games. However, the bottom of the order needs to step it up. Miguel Sano and Alex Kirilloff hold the eight and nine spots today, and they are a combined 0-22 on the season. For this team to be successful this year, the entire order will need to do their part since the pitching rotation may struggle.

The Twins order has seen Flexen before, and the last time Flexen pitched at Target Field was in April of last year, when he gave up five runs in five innings. The top of the order has good numbers on him as well. The Twins are .338 over 41 combined at-bats against Flexen. Buxton is 3-3 with a home run, Correa is 4-9 with only one strikeout, Arraez is 3-5, and Polanco is 1-6. This could be the game Kirilloff needs to get hit first hit as well because he is 2-3 against Flexen and sits in the clean-up spot.

The Mariners made some big changes in the offseason. They picked up Adam Frazier at second base, Jesse Winker in the outfield, and Eugenio Suarez at third base. They started the year with two good games and will look to elevate an already talented team that went 90-72 last year. On the mound for the Mariners tonight will be right-hander Chris Flexen. Flexen posted pretty good numbers last year with a 3.61 earned run average over 31 starts. He was slightly worse on the road with a 4.06 earned run average over 14 starts. Flexen works primarily with his four-seam fastball, which he throws 40% of the time. He pairs that with a cutter, which he throws 30% of the time. Perhaps the heavy use of the four-seamer is why the Twins batters have had success against Flexen. Most of the Twin's order relies on velocity and barreling the ball rather than placement, which is a good matchup against four-seamers. I expect at least a few more dingers from the Twins today.

The pitching matchup favors the Twins today, considering the lineup's success against four-seam pitchers. The Twins have been hitting with power, and the order has had success against Flexen historically. The Twins will have to rely on Bundy here, but I think he is in for a better season than his 2021 campaign, as he's shown he can put up good numbers in his previous seasons. The Twins have also always been more of a home team, so I like them to even the series in this spot. Take the home team here to stay hot after yesterday's performance.

Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners Pick

Pick: Twins ML (-130) (Bet $130 to Win $100)

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Article Author

NCAABBoxing/MMAMLBNHL

Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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