Twins @ Rays Preview and Free Pick – August 3rd, 2010 ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
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Opening Line: Rays -145
A couple of hot teams in tight division races square off tonight at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Tampa Bay Rays, who are now tied with the New York Yankees for first in the American League East, take on the Minnesota Twins, who are only 1 game behind the White Sox in the A.L. Central. The Rays took game 1 of the series last night, 4-2 behind rookie sensation Jeremy Hellickson. The Rays will go with Jeff Niemann (9-3, 3.08 ERA) tonight. Niemann had been the Rays best pitcher up until July 11th. Since then, he’s posted a 5.29 ERA over his last 4 starts. He still holds a solid 2.75 ERA at home. The Rays have won both of Niemann’s career starts versus Minnesota. Brian Duensing (4-1, 1.83), making only his 3rd of the year, goes for the Twins. Duensing has only allowed 3 runs in 11 innings in his previous 2 starts. This will be his first start against the Rays.
The Twins had won 9 of 10 before last night’s loss, but those 9 wins were against lowly Baltimore, Kansas City, and Seattle. During that stretch, the Twins hit .348 as a team and had a 1.92 ERA. It’s not as impressive when you look at their competition, but that’s what a playoff contending team is supposed to do. Beat the little guys. Minnesota is still without Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Orlando Hudson. Mauer might be able to go tonight. The Rays have won 14 of 17 at home, but are only hitting .222 in their last 10 games. I like the Rays offense to wake up tonight and for Niemann to take advantage of a depleted Twins lineup.
Pick: Rays -1.5 +143
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