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MLB: Series Betting: Twins-White Sox

MLB: Series Betting: Twins-White Sox


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MLB: Series Betting: Twins-White Sox

The Minnesota Twins embark on their second longest road trip of the season, in second place in the AL Central


2008-06-06

The Minnesota Twins embark on their second longest road trip of the season, in second place in the AL Central, heading to Chi-town to start an important four-game wraparound series. The teams sit atop the division standings, and you can bet on each and every game of the series at Sportsbook.com

This was originally scheduled for just for three contests; however Monday is a make-up date from earlier rainout. The Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has somehow kept this team competitive despite injuries and a curious decision by the front office. Minnesota is 12th in scoring at 4.7 runs per game with a list of players more unknown than the first cuts from American Idol. Yet they are very athletic, execute with the precision of a Chinese assembly line and make things happen. Gardenhire’s bench is paper thin, since the Twins are carrying 13 pitchers, curtailing maneuvering around or situational hitting by the manager.

While Gardenhire is the good soldier and keeps is mouth shut, White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillien has not seen a microphone in which he couldn’t utter a diatribe. Recently, Guillen went off for a second time this season, calling out GM Kenny Williams and hitting coach Greg Walker. He did this with his team in first place, one can only wonder what he would do if Chicago fell in the standings. Much of the frustration Guillien has encountered in an up and down offense that scores a pedestrian 4.4 runs per game. You won’t here him muttering any negative words about the pitching coach or the pitching staff, which has allowed three runs or fewer in 34 of its 59 games, including four shutouts and 11 games allowing just one run. The White Sox staff has the best ERA in major league baseball.

Javier Vazquez (5-4, 3.43) will get the call for the South Siders in the series opener. Vazquez has been sharp, with a better than 4-1 strikeout-to walk ratio and is 16-4 against division opponents over the last two seasons. (Team's Record) Chicago is a large -175 money line favorite with 17-8 (+10.6 Units) record versus AL Central opponents this season. Playing into this number is the fact Minnesota is just 10-20 after six or more consecutive home games. Nick Blackburn (4-3, 3.32) will start for the Twins and is off three stellar outings, with 1.93 ERA in 18 2/3 innings. Blackburn has three good pitches, none are what would be considered an out-pitch, which is why he’s allowed 91 hits in 76 innings this season. With Minnesota 29th in home runs and lacking power, Vazquez and the Sox are 11-2 vs. teams averaging 2.75 or less extra base hits per game. Make use of the FREE FoxSheet for this contest.

Game 1 Edge: White Sox

Warmer weather has been creeping into the Midwest and the White Sox hit eight home runs against Kansas City in sweep. "Oh, my God, if that's going to help the offense, please be 120 degrees," Guillen said. "When you go to the plate and you have nice weather to hit in, and you're not that cold and miserable, that's going to help you a lot, mentally." The power surge has sent the Pale Hose to second in the American League in home runs and they will get a look a Livan Hernandez (6-2, 4.81), whose only allowed one dinger in last four starts. The veteran right-hander has been a good luck charm of sorts, as Minnesota has won 10 of his 13 starts and he is second in baseball at +10.1 units of profit. Hernandez is seemingly always pitching with men on base due to high volume of hits allowed and gets by on guile more than skill at this point of his career. Mark Buehrle (2-6, 5.20) is becoming increasingly closer to long relief. Once unbeatable at home, the lefty has yet to win at US Cellular Field in 2008. With decreasing velocity, he has to his spots, which he has not done with regularity. Maybe being 20-11 record against Minnesota will help rekindle the magic.

Game 2 Edge: Twins and Over

Sunday’s an afternoon encounter, which has not been good for Minnesota, who is 7-11 during the day. Kevin Slowey (2-5, 3.76) will be called upon to change the Twinkies fortunes, which might be asking a lot, since he is 0-3 in day games. Slowey is an extreme fly-ball pitcher, meaning he will give up home runs. To his credit he helps himself by not walking batters. In fact, he’s allowed more long balls (8), than batters to reach base via the walk (6). The 24-year old pitches better on the road, with 2.45 ERA. Chicago’s Gavin Floyd has rewarded the Sox front office making him the fifth starter with 6-3 record and high-caliber ERA of 3.15. After years of maddening inconsistency, Floyd has command of his pitches and has been especially adept at cell-phone field, with 4-1 mark (Sox Record) and brilliant 2.29 ERA.

Game 3 Edge: White Sox

Though this make-up game won’t count in series wagering, it will count for both teams in the standings. GM Kenny Williams is to be commended for showing patience, since Monday’s probable starter Jose Contreras (6-3, 2.75) has been spectacular. Contreras has not given up more than two runs in his last six starts and has allowed just 26 base hits in 42 innings of work. He’ll face another young Twins starter in Glen Perkins (2-2, 4.50), who has above average fastball and unremarkable breaking stuff.

Game 4 Edge: White Sox

If you look at the Minnesota starting pitchers, no team in baseball has more good young pitchers. The only problem is not one of them has dominating stuff, making them a collection of good middle of the rotation guys, who miss a bell-cow like Johan Santana. The Chicago offense is tailored to its park, making the long ball important. If they start to hit with consistency, the White Sox have the pitching to win this series and be division champions.

Sportsbook.com series odds: Minnesota +160, Chicago -200 (1st three games)

StatFox Edge Pick: White Sox

2008 Record – 5-2

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