Battle Of Struggling Teams: Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners

Minnesota Twins (12-26) AT Seattle Mariners (16-23)
May 16, 2011 at 10:10 PM EST
Opening Moneyline:  SEA -165, MIN +145
Current Moneyline:  SEA -160, MIN +145
Opening Total:  6.5
Current Total:  6.5

SP:  MIN- Scott Baker, SEA- Michael Pineda

Scott Baker will take the mound for the Twins

Both these teams are ice cold.  The Twins have lost 8 straight and the Mariners have lost 6 straight, so both teams will look to end a losing streak tonight.  Seattle just went 0-4 on a road trip through Baltimore and Cleveland, though there were two games postponed because of rain.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge isn’t overly concerned with the horrible results of late.  He rationalizes:  “We’re in every ballgame…They’re working to get better, pulling for each other. And as we continue to get better and find ways to win, the results will be different.”

The Twins have dropped 14 of their last 17 and have the worst record in the majors.  Twins’ Right Fielder Michael Cuddyer expressed cluelessness as to the root of the problems.  “You definitely try and change things up, because everything we’ve done, nothing’s worked yet,” right fielder Cuddyer said following the loss Sunday to the Blue Jays.

Things might not get much easier with Mariners rookie Michael Pineda taking the mound.  He will be making the start instead of Felix Hernandez, who will start tomorrow night.  Pineda has only given up more than 3 runs once this season, although he has given up a few home runs in his last two outings after giving up none in the first five games he pitched.  He has a 4-2 record with a 2.84 ERA.

Pineda’s PECOTA projection predicted a 6-4 record with a 3.59 ERA.  As far as prospects go, Pineda is a sure thing and he has drawn comparisons to Pedro Gonzalez.  While that may be a stretch of the imagination, he at the bare minimum is going to be a top of the rotation starter for the rest of his career.

Minnesota will send Scott Baker to the mound.  Baker is 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA.  He has won his last 3 starts against Seattle while posting a 2.37 ERA in that span.  In his first six times aganist the Mariners, however, he recorded an 0-3 record with a 5.50 ERA.  Baker was also horrible in his last appearance, giving up 5 runs in 4 1/3rds innings.  In his four starts prior to Wednesday he had a 2-0 record with a 1.59 ERA.

Baker’s PECOTA projection for this season predicted a 12-9 record with a 3.88 ERA.  While it is early in the season, Baker is on pace to pitch much better than that projection.  Moving from the Metronome to Target Field was a great boon for Baker’s statistics.  His ERA at home was a full run lower than it was on the road…While Baker’s speed didn’t drop off following his elbow tendinitis last year, it did take away some of the bite from the pitch.  It caused him to develop a better curve ball and now that his arm is rested and healthy, we should see the best of both power pitching and control pitching.

Some betting trends:

The total has gone OVER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 games and the Twins aer 0-5 SU in their last 5 games.  Minnesota is 3-6 SU in their last 9 on the road and the total has gone UNDER in 14 of the last 22 road games. The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the last 5 against the Seattle Mariners and the Twins are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games against the Mariners.  The Twins are 2-4 SU in their last 6 road games against the Mariners and the total has gone UNDER in 4 of the Twins’ last 5 games on the road against the Mariners.

Seattle is 0-5 SU in their last 5 games and the Mariners are 8-15 SU in their last 23 games at home.  The Mariners are 1-5 SU in their last 6 games against the Twins and the total has gone UNDER in 4 of their last 5 games against the Twins.  The Mariners are 4-2 SU in their last 6 home games against the Minnesota Twins.

Given Pineda’s dominance, promise, and control, Seattle is in the driver’s seat in this game.  While the Mariners have been pretty bad, they don’t have the same duration of horrible play going that the Twins do.

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