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Twins at Yankees – Pick for April 17th

Minnesota Twins +225 @ New York Yankees -240

Francisco Liriano (0-1, 10.00 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia (0-0, 6.75 ERA)

Every once in a while, a line comes along that is just so huge, so tantalizing, that it makes you want to suspend disbelief for just a second and take a flyer.  To me, tonight is just that kind of line.  Are the Yankees better than the Twins?  Certainly.  Is C.C. Sabathia a better pitcher than Francisco Liriano?  Without a doubt.  Are the Yankees 75-80% certainties to win this game??  To me, in baseball, that is a pretty steep price to pay to back any favorite.  It makes the Twins an intriguing value proposition tonight.

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At +225, you are getting a lot of bang for your buck.  The Twins looked solid last night.  Mauer homered and appears to be getting his swing into gear.  Their seven runs were the second most they’ve scored in a game this season, but outside of the opener against Jerrod Weaver and a two-game slip in Texas, their offense hasn’t been nearly as bad as advertised.  Their .270 team average is only one point behind the celebrated Tigers for second best in the AL, and put them tied with the other off-season champ, the Angels.  With a healthy Morneau and Mauer, this is a team that went to four straight post-seasons after all.

The key for them tonight is if they can get anything out of promising, but struggling, lefty Francisco Liriano.  For two years the Twins have waited for the tantalizing promise he flashed three years ago when people were listing him alongside staff ace Johan Santana as perhaps scariest pitcher in the American League.  Suffice it to say, it hasn’t unfolded quite as well as hoped.  Liriano was just 9-10 last year with an ERA over 5.00.  This season, through two starts it has been an abject disaster.  TO expect him to get right on the road against the mighty Yankees is a bit optimistic.

However, on the flipside, C.C. Sabathia has been struggling a bit as well.  He has given up 16 hits in just 12 innings of work in his first two starts.  I expect the Twins to get some offense going against him and make it an interesting ballgame.  I wouldn’t bet my life that the Twins win tonight, but at +225, the game isn’t SO lopsided that it justifies the number.  I’m taking a flyer tonight on the Twinkies to more than double my one unit wager.

Free Pick:  Minnesota Twins to WIN +225

Bonus Pick: New York Mets (Johan Santana) to WIN +106