Starting Pitchers: Texas (Darvish) vs. Minnesota (Blackburn)
MLB Betting Odds from BetOnline
Moneyline: Texas (-165) Minnesota (+155)
The hype surrounding Yu Darvish and his first Major League Baseball start earlier this week was amazing. There will be a little less hype in this second start, but there will still be plenty of interest in the outcome of this one. The Twins started 0-4, but they picked up a couple surprising wins over the Angels. Now, they’ll look to do some damage against another power American League West foe.
Darvish looked nervous in the first couple innings in his debut against the Seattle Mariners earlier this week. His control wasn’t what it normally is, and the Mariners touched him up for 5 runs in the first two innings. Darvish then settled down and held the Mariners scoreless for the final 3 and 2/3 innings. He is famous for striking out a ton of batters, so expect to see quite a few Twins get punched out in this game.
Texas arguably has the best lineup in baseball from top to bottom. There is no real weakness in this lineup. Mitch Moreland is hitting ninth for this team, and he could hit fifth for quite a few teams. Josh Hamilton is on fire so far this year. Hamilton is hitting .357, and he already has two home runs. Ian Kinsler may be the most dynamic leadoff hitter in baseball. Kinsler has three home runs already this year, and he is much healthier than he was last season.
Minnesota had more injury problems than any other team in baseball last year. The Twins had to win on the last day of the season to avoid finishing with 100 losses. The team certainly isn’t what it was a few short years ago, but fans are hoping a healthy Mauer and Morneau can help them get back to respectability this season. It was Mauer and Morneau who helped slug the team back from behind Thursday afternoon against the Angels. They’ll need to shoulder a lot of the load if this team is going to keep pace in a much improved AL Central.
Josh Willingham has started the season as hot as anyone in baseball. The new Twins outfielder has smashed four home runs in just 22 at-bats so far this year. Willingham has always been a solid hitter, and I believe he was a solid pick up by the team. Denard Span is one of the better leadoff hitters in the game when healthy. He went 4 for 5 Thursday afternoon, and he was a major catalyst in the 10-9 win over the Angels Thursday afternoon. Nick Blackburn wasn’t very good in his first start this year, and he’ll need to be much better against this top notch offense.
The Rangers are 58-19 in their last 77 games as a favorite. However, the Rangers are only 17-39 in their last 56 games at Minnesota. Overall, the Rangers are just 3-9 in their last 12 meetings with Minnesota. At this price, I think it is worth a small play on the home dog in this one.
MLB Free Pick: Twins ML