Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press
The Minnesota Twins did not disappoint in their return to the diamond Friday, as they posted 10 runs against the Chicago White Sox.
The second of 10 meetings between the American League Central sides could match the 15 total runs plated in Friday’s series opener. Although it is just the second game of the season for both sides, a win is imperative in the divisional title race, with Cleveland taking on the Kansas City Royals at home.
Saturday marks the first time all 30 teams are scheduled to be on the diamond in the same day. After a day off, the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals return with another must-see pitching matchup between James Paxton and Stephen Strasburg.
While plenty of marquee pitchers will toe the rubber Saturday, a hurler coming back from an extended injury layoff has the potential to steal the spotlight.
MLB Saturday Schedule
Milwaukee (+135; wager $100 to win $135) at Chicago Cubs (-145; wager $145 to win $100) (1:05 p.m., Fox)
Baltimore (+178) at Boston (-196) (1:35 p.m.)
Minnesota at Chicago White Sox (2:10 p.m.)
Pittsburgh (+146) at St. Louis (-156) (2:15 p.m.)
Toronto (+140) at Tampa Bay (-150) (3:10 p.m.)
Miami (+165) at Philadelphia (-180) (4:05 p.m.)
Colorado (-101) at Texas (-109) (4:05 p.m.)
Atlanta (-106) at New York Mets (-104) (4:10 p.m.)
Los Angeles Angels (+133) at Oakland (-143) (4:10 p.m.)
Seattle (+220) at Houston (-260) (4:10 p.m.)
San Francisco at Los Angeles Dodgers (4:10 p.m., Fox)
Kansas City (+215) at Cleveland (-250) (5:10 p.m.)
Detroit (+190) at Cincinnati (-220) (5:10 p.m.)
New York Yankees (-123) at Washington (+113) (7:10 p.m., Fox)
Arizona (+114) at San Diego (-124) (9:10 p.m.)
Nationally televised games can be live-streamed on FoxSports.com or Fox Sports app. Other games can be live-streamed on MLB.tv.
All Times ET; odds via Caesars Palace.
Twins, White Sox Produce Highest Combined Run Total
Nine of the 10 players to record a hit at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday had two or more base knocks.
Both the Twins and White Sox had one player hit a home run, and a majority of the 15 runs were produced on RBI singles. The results could be similar, or even better, Saturday with Randy Dobnak and Dallas Keuchel on the hill.
Dobnak, who is starting in place of the injured Jake Odorizzi, conceded five hits over three innings in his lone appearance versus Chicago in 2019, while Keuchel allowed 30 hits and 13 runs in 30 career innings against the Twins.
The pitching matchup is favorable for both sides. As is the hitting environment on the south side of Chicago.
On the final weekend of July 2019, the two teams produced 39 runs in the White Sox’s home park, with the Twins reaching double digits twice. In fact, Minnesota put up 10 or more runs on six occasions in its meetings with its AL Central rival.
The high offensive output could start in the first inning. Eleven of the 20 hits in Friday’s matchup came from the first four hitters in each order.
Lance McCullers Jr. Shines in Return From Tommy John Surgery
Lance McCullers Jr. has the benefit of pitching against one of the worst teams in baseball in his return from Tommy John surgery.
McCullers’ last appearance on a major league mound occurred in the 2018 American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox. In 2018, the right-handed hurler produced a 10-6 record with a 3.86 ERA and 142 strikeouts.
If McCullers returns to that form, he will help ease the blow of losing Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees.
Houston was victorious in both of McCullers’ starts versus the Seattle Mariners two years ago, and his second-highest strikeout total occurred April 17 against Saturday’s opponents.
The Mariners did minimal damage to the Houston pitchers Friday, as they tagged Justin Verlander for three hits and managed two base knocks in the final three frames off a trio of relievers.
If McCullers puts in a solid start, he could be one of the most valuable pitching options in daily fantasy baseball competitions.