Saturday MLB Preview – Twins at Orioles

The Orioles picked up a victory in last night’s game and welcomed back their leadoff man, as they look to push the Twins further down the standing in the AL Central race.

Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles

Minnesota has dropped three of its last five games to fall into third place in the AL Central race, including a 3-2 defeat on Friday night.  The Twins are still 18-15 in Baltimore since the beginning of the 2002 season, when manager Ron Gardenhire too over as manager.  The club has won four of its last five series in Baltimore.  Despite their past successes against the Orioles, the Twins are still just 10-16 against the AL East division.  Minnesota is 18-16 against left-handed starters this season (+20) and have posted a 75-74 mark over the last three years (-490).  The total is 13-17 O/U in those contests, as they are averaging 4.4 runs and hitting a combined .276 against southpaws.

Twins starting pitcher Scott Baker is 7-9 with a 5.15 ERA in 19 starts this season, with the team dropping his last two outings.  Over that span, he has allowed 11 earned runs and 17 hits over 10.2 innings of work.  After not issuing a walk in four straight appearances, he gave out three in just 4.2 innings last time out.  The right-hander is a disappointing 1-6 with a 6.66 ERA in nine road starts, allowing 70 hits and 12 home runs in 51.1 frames.  In six career outings versus the Orioles, Baker is a perfect 4-0 with a 2.52 ERA, including a 2-0 mark and 3.45 ERA in three starts at Camden Yards.

Baltimore has compiled a 7-8 record in its last 15 home games and are 12-13 in their last 25 games overall.  The Orioles offense welcomed back second baseman Brian Roberts, who returned from the 60-day disabled list on Friday.  He was hitless in four at-bats on Friday night.  “We will definitely welcome Brian back,” manager Juan Samuel said.  “We know how much he means to our club in the leadoff spot.”  The club is still just 2-6 on its current homestand, as the lineup is averaging just three runs per game and hitting for a combined .249 average.  Producing any type of win streak has been difficult for the worst team in the American League, going 12-19 in games following a win this season (-100).

Orioles starting pitcher Brian Matusz is 3-10 with a 5.21 ERA in 19 starts this season and is coming off one of his worst outings of the year.  The second-year starter allowed six runs on five hits in just 1.2 innings in a 10-1 home loss to the Blue Jays.  He has managed to toss just 4.2 innings in his last two starts overall.  The left-hander is a winless 0-6 with a 5.57 ERA in nine home starts, with the offense providing just 22 runs of support.  In two career starts versus the Twins, Matusz is 0-1 with a 9.35 ERA.  He faced today’s opponent in Minnesota back on May 9, giving up six runs and nine hits in just 3.2 innings.

Bettors will find the Twins offering little advantage over the competition as a road favorite of -125 to -150, going 5-5 this year (-160) and 16-16 in this situation over the last three seasons (-600).  Watching the line will be a necessity, with the Orioles being an even 7-7 as a home underdog of +100 to +125, but 6-11 in games if the line moves to +125 to +150.

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