Oakland A’s vs. Minnesota Twins Series Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
|Oakland As (93-69, 1st place in AL West) +150 to win series vs. Minnesota Twins (96-66, 1st place in AL Central), -170, best-of-five AL Divisional Series
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff
The Oakland As, who clinched their divisional title with time to spare, take on the Minnesota Twins, who won their divisional title on the last day of the regular season, in a best-of-five American League Divisional Series beginning Tuesday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Oakland won the AL West by four games over the second-place Los Angeles Angels. But Minnesota almost blew their chance, losing the first two games of a home series with the Chicago White Sox last weekend. Fortunately for the Twins, they won their season-ender on Sunday, while the suddenly incompetent Detroit Tigers got swept by the lowly Kansas City Royals, in Motown, no less, handing Minnesota the division crown.
For their efforts, the Twins get to play somebody other than the New York Yankees, who knocked Minnesota out of the AL playoffs in 2003 and 04.
These two teams compiled the two best post-All-Star break records in the majors. The As went 48-26, and the Twins went 49-27. In fact, Minnesota has been on an absolute tear; the Twins sat at 25-33 the night of June 7, and with Detroit roaring along at that time, the playoffs looked a long way off. But since that night, Minnesota is 71-33 (.682).
The Twins won the season series with Oakland this year six games to four. Minnesota won five of six games with the As at the Metrodome. And the O/U went 5-5 in this series this season.
Oakland went 49-32 at home this season and 44-37 on the road. The Twins only rang up the best home record in the majors this season, 54-27, and went 42-39 on the road.
The As send lefty Barry Zito (16-10, 3.83) to the mound for Tuesdays series opener. Zito made one start vs. Minnesota this season, throwing seven shutout innings in an Oakland win. On the season, the As went 21-13 in Zitos starts, while the over/under went 18-15 in those games.
The Twins will counter with the best pitcher in baseball Tuesday, lefty Johan Santana (19-6, 2.77). Santana made one start vs. Oakland this season, allowing one run and two hits in eight innings, walking none and striking out nine. Minnesota went 27-7 in Santanas starts this season, and an amazing 17-0 at home. The O/U went 19-14 in Santanas starts this year.
Wednesdays Game 2 match-up features Esteban Loaiza (11-9, 4.89) for Oakland against rookie Boof Bonser (7-6, 4.22) for the Twins. Loaiza can get bounced around; he gave up 179 hits this season in 154 2/3 IP. Bonser, meanwhile, after a bit of a rough start, came back to put up some pretty good numbers, which include 104 hits allowed in 100 1/3 IP and an 84/24 K/BB ratio. Bonser did, however, give up 18 homers in those 100+ innings.
Game 3 of this series will be played Friday in Oakland. Brad Radke (12-9, 4.32), who came off the DL late in the season to make a key start (a Twins win), will go for Minnesota, while the As will send Dan Haren (14-13, 4.12) to the hill.
The Twins went 10-8 in Bonsers starts this season, and 17-11 in Radkes outings.
Oakland went 15-11 in Loaizas starts this year, and 18-16 in Harens.
The As owned a .340 team OBP this season, 7th- best in the AL, and averaged 4.8 runs per game.
Minnesota compiled a .347 team OBP this year, 5th-best in the AL, and averaged 4.9 RPG.
The Oakland bullpen ranked 5th in the majors with a cumulative 3.62 ERA.
The Twins bullpen was the best in baseball this year, with a 2.91 ERA and an MLB-low 10 blown saves.
The O/U went 75-81 in As games this season, 73-81 in Twins games.
Oakland is listed at right around 4/1 to win the American League pennant and 10/1 to win the World Series.
Minnesota is posted at around 3/1 to win the pennant and 5/1 to win the World Series.
The Ultimatecapper Pick: We like the Twins to take the series.