Matchup: Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red Sox
Date/Time: May 8, 7:10 p.m. EST
Starting Pitchers: Twins (Hernandez) Red Sox (Webster)
MLB Gambling Odds from Sportsbook.AG
Moneyline: Red Sox (-178) Twins (+168)
The Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox will get the national spotlight Wednesday night on ESPN. It will be two youngsters with very little experience in the majors getting the start in this one. How will the youngsters respond to the extra attention? Boston will try to keep winning and improve their major-league best record.
Minnesota was expected to be one of the worst teams in the American League heading into the season. The Twins have had a little more success than most expected, primarily because of a much better than expected effort from their bullpen so far this year. The Twins bullpen was one of the worst in baseball all year in 2012, but they rank in the top five in baseball so far this year. Pedro Hernandez starts in this one, and this is only his fifth career start. Hernandez has been up and down so far in his young career.
The Twins still have some big name guys in the middle of the lineup. Joe Mauer leads the team with a .291 batting average this year. Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham are hitting only .250 and .244 so far this season. Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmalee, Aaron Hicks, and Ryan Doumit are all really struggling so far this year. The Twind offense was expected to be an area of relative strength, but they haven’t been able to get it going so far this year. Minnesota is hitting only .240 as a team.
Boston comes into this game with the best record in baseball. Not many people would have expected the Red Sox to have the best mark in baseball through the first five weeks of action. Boston has been much better than expected in every aspect of the game, but I really think it has been their starting pitching that has made this team click so far in 2013. Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Ryan Dempster have turned into a lethal combination as the top three of this rotation. Buchholz has made bettors more money so far this year than any other pitcher in the majors. Youngster Allen Webster will get the start in this one. He was called up when the Red Sox put Joel Hanrahan on the disabled list.
Boston’s offense has been consistently very good all year as well. The Red Sox are averaging 4.94 runs per game this year. They are hitting .270 as a team, which is fourth best in the nation. David Ortiz is back and absolutely crushing the baseball. Ortiz is hitting .426 to lead the team. Dustin Pedroia, Daniel Nava, and Jacoby Ellsbury have all been hitting the ball well this year. Will Middlebrooks is hitting .195 on the season. If he can get it going, then this offense will really be dangerous.
Free Pick: Over 9.5
Both of these pitchers are unproven, and I expect the offenses to have the edge in this one. I like the value on the over.