Jeremy Guthrie of the Orioles is not having the best of seasons but he has owned the Twins over his career. Kevin Slowey should only get better as he gets more work for Minnesota, so go ‘under’ here.
Sometimes, you have to look deeper than pitchers’ recent form or even year-to-date number when handicapping MLB games, and such is the case in one of the matchups on Wednesday night when Jeremy Guthrie and the Baltimore Orioles (49-77 overall, 20-42 away) pay a visit to Kevin Slowey and the Minnesota Twins (55-73 overall, 28-35 home) in the third game of a four-game series from Target Field in Minneapolis, MN at 8:10 ET.
The upstart Orioles have taken the first two games of this series, and it is good to see that they are still playing hard despite being mired in last place in the American League East, a whopping 28 games behind the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, who are now tied for first.
The Twins are in fourth place in the American League Central, 15 games behind the division leading Detroit Tigers, but the Twins’ biggest concern right now is staying out of the basement, as they are only 2½ games ahead of the last place Kansas City Royals. The Twins have certainly not helped their cause by going an awful 3-13 in their last 16 home games.
The ‘under’ is a nice 13-5-2 in the last 20 head-to-head meetings between these clubs, including 1-0-1 over the past two nights. Now at first glance, you would think that the odds would favor an ‘over’ in this spot, as both starting pitchers are struggling right now and neither has eye-popping numbers for the season. However, both hurlers have had recent success against their respective opponent tonight, so both pitchers have a chance to get well quickly.
The posted total at 5 Dimes for this contest is 8½, with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at +100.
Guthrie is an ugly 5-16 for the season with a 4.55 ERA, although he does have a quasi-respectable 1.35 WHIP. Furthermore, he has now gone three straight outings without recording a Quality Start, allowing 16 earned runs in 19.2 innings over that time.
All of that said however, there is an old adage that you have to be a good pitcher to lose 20 games as the manager keeps putting you out there, and Guthrie has owned the Twins over his career. He has made five starts against them and has gone 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP while going a perfect five for five in Quality Starts. The most recent of those starts came this season, albeit in a losing effort, where Guthrie allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings.
Another key reason why we think that Guthrie is more likely to continue his mastery of Minnesota here as opposed to maintaining his rotten form is the current state of the Twins’ offense. Minnesota has a team batting average of .229 over the last 10 games including a disgusting .210 average vs. right-handers, against whom they are averaging just 3.00 runs per nine innings during this span.
Now Slowey has been on the Disabled List for most of this season, and he just made his first start of the season this past Friday vs. the Yankees after six relief appearances. The Yankees are always a difficult assignment, and that is especially true for a pitcher making his first start this late in the year, so the fact that the Yanks reached him for six earned runs in 5.2 innings is not really all that surprising.
Keep in mind though that Slowey has a lifetime record of 39-22 and he went 13-6 last season, so he should only get better as he gets more work. Perhaps most importantly in regards to this matchup, Slowey pitched very well in his only start vs. the Orioles last season, allowing one run and only five hits in six innings.
He is now facing a Baltimore lineup that is batting a modest .245 on the road vs. right-handed pitchers this year, so the Twins may get an opportunity to stretch out Slowey’s arm an extra inning or two tonight.
Thus, although it may not be an obvious play and in fact seems counterintuitive, go ‘under’ in Minnesota tonight.
MLB Pick: Orioles, Twins ‘under’ 8½ (+100)