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Angeles at Twins – Free Pick April 11th

Los Angeles Angels -175 @ Minnesota Twins +155 (Total: 7.5)

Jered Weaver (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Carl Pavano (0-1, 5.14 ERA)

We are just four or five games in to the baseball season, and already we are down to only two unbeaten teams, Arizona and Detroit.  Both enter today’s play at 4-0 and are prohibitive favorites in their games today.  For Detroit, they will attempt to make it two straight over Tampa Bay and have to feel pretty good about their chances with Justin Verlander on the hill.  Tampa counters with James Shields, but I am not sure anyone on Earth, save maybe Roy Halliday, can truly “counter” Verlander.  For Arizona, they outlasted the Padres in eleven innings, but are throwing their #5 starter, journeyman Joe Saunders tonight, so perhaps their unbeaten string ends in San Diego.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is owned solely by the Minnesota Twins, who remain baseball’s only winless ballclub in 2012.  There was some tempered optimism that last season’s terrible record was a mere aberration; that the Twins fall from Central Division perennial powers was only a blip on the radar caused by injuries to franchise cornerstones Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.  Both are back and playing baseball, but unfortunately for the Twins, it hasn’t translated into a win yet.

The biggest problem in Minnesota is that no one is hitting.  Through four games the Twins have managed just six runs on a meager 20 hits.  If you like ugly stats, that gives them an average of just 1.5 runs and five hits per game.  You aren’t going to win too many major league baseball games with that level of offensive output.  Especially when the “ace” of your staff is Carl Pavano.

No offense to Pavano, who is beaten up in the press a little more than merited.  Is he the staff anchor that the huge money contract the Yankees signed him to several years back indicated?  No.  But he is an above-average major league pitcher.  I just don’t feel good about his chances of beating Jered Weaver tonight.

Weaver came out sharp, throwing eight scoreless innings in the opener, and he has to be salivating at the chance to face the anemic Twins lineup tonight.  I am not usually a huge fan of the -1.5 runline, as about 30% of baseball games are settled by just one run, however, I find it unlikely the Twins scratch out more than a run or two against Weaver.  That means they either need to hit score off a solid Angel bullpen of somehow limit Puljols and company to less than two or three runs.

That’s asking a bit much of Carl Pavano.  I like the Halos tonight, both to WIN and on the runline at -102.

Free Picks:  Los Angeles Angels to WIN -175  &  Los Angeles Angels -1.5 (-102)