MLB Betting Preview: Minnesota Twins at Orioles
By: Brad Young
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Two American League teams trying to improve their position in the standings continue a four-game series Wednesday when Minnesota visits Baltimore.
The Twins took Monday’s opener, 5-3, as they continue an eight-game road trip, while the Orioles continue to struggle.
Minnesota is currently the third-worst team in baseball in scoring differential at -22, scoring 50 runs this season while surrendering 72. Baltimore was atop the AL East standings briefly before enduring an eight-game losing streak.
ESPN will provide coverage of Wednesday’s matchup beginning at 4:05 p.m. PT from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Minnesota right-hander Nick Blackburn (1-2, 3.06 ERA) toes the rubber trying to break out of a personal two-game losing streak. The four-year veteran fell to Tampa Bay Friday as a 121 road underdog, 5-2, while the combined seven runs failed to topple the 8 ½-run closing total. The ‘under’ has cashed in all three of his starts this season.
Blackburn was reached for five runs on 10 hits (one home run) with no walks and six strikeouts over six innings and 87 pitches. Two of his starts this season have lasted six innings, while his first outing versus Toronto went 5 2/3 innings.
The 29-year-old beat the Orioles in his lone start against them last season as 147 home ‘chalk,’ 6-0. Blackburn tossed seven scoreless innings by allowing four hits with two walks and no strikeouts. The six runs failed to eclipse the 8 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 3-0 when he starts against Baltimore.
Minnesota has struggled to a 6-16 record its past 22 games on grass, while the ‘under’ has gone 16-5 the previous 21 outings overall.
Injuries are plenty in the Twins clubhouse with catcher Joe Mauer on the DL due to a viral infection that caused leg weakness. First baseman Justin Morneau is battling the flu and offseason free agent acquisistion Tsuyoshi Nishioka remains on the DL with a broken leg.
The Orioles give the starting assignment to rookie Zach Britton (2-1, 2.75 ERA) hoping he can rebound from his first loss. The southpaw fell to Cleveland Friday as a 101 road underdog, 8-2, while the combined 10 runs went ‘over’ the 7 ½-run closing total.
The 23-year-old tossed six innings, yielding five runs on eight hits (one home run) with a walk and six strikeouts on 83 pitches. His first two victories of the season went ‘under’ the closing total.
Britton is making just his fourth career start in Major League Baseball, and has never faced the Twins.
This four-game series concludes with Thursday’s matchup before Minnesota begins a six-game homestand versus Cleveland and Tampa Bay. Baltimore continues its 10-game homestand following this series with games against AL East rivals New York and Boston.
Mike Everitt will be the home-plate umpire for this contest, and has seen the ‘over’ go 3-1 in his four games behind the dish. There has been an average of 9.8 runs, 5.5 walks and 13.8 strikeouts during those four games.
Wednesday’s forecast for Baltimore calls for isolated thunderstorms and a 30-percent chance of rain, with a high of 85 degrees and a low of 55.