Twinkies & Bucs Lead Off Saturday Preseason Picks
It would certainly be a shock to see the Minnesota Twins even sniff a .500 record, and the MLB futures odds for win totals suggest the Pittsburgh Pirates will extend their record streak of 20-straight losing seasons.
The moneyline for this game points to a Pirates victory. However, with Bookmaker sending the Bucs out at -130 and giving a +110 price to Minnesota backers, the Twins start become a little more appealing for our MLB picks.
Cole De Vries is on tap for Ron Gardenhire and the Twins, his second consecutive start of the spring after a couple of relief outings. So far, so good for the slight righthander who came to camp with a shot at winning the No. 5 slot in the Minnesota rotation. Considering De Vries was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Minnesota in '06, the Twins really have nothing to lose with him and he posted a respectable 4.11 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in his first 87.2 big league innings last year.
It has not been smooth sailing for either Burnett or the Pirates this spring. Saving Pittsburgh from being the laughingstock of the Grapefruit League is the fact both New York teams are stinking up the Sunshine State. Burnett has made just two starts, lasted a total of 13 outs and giving up eight runs (5 earned) while hitters were teeing off at a .389 rate.
Weather isn't supposed to be an issue for the one o'clock start (ET) at McKechnie Field in Bradenton (mostly sunny, mid-to-upper 70s). The Twins burned me once earlier this week, but I'm climbing back on them as the dog in this fight.
Couple Of Slow Starters Square Off At Camelback Ranch
From the Florida Peninsula to the Arizona desert we go for a another one o'clock local start...the last day before the time change that Phoenix's time zone will be just two hours behind ET.
Hector Noesi gets the call for the Seattle Mariners who were among several Cactus League teams to have Friday games called off because of weather. The Los Angeles Dodgers were another and listed Chris Capuano as the starting hurler for Saturday at their MLB.com site. Bettors need to look for updates and changes for both teams before going to the window where the Dodgers were -135 on the overnight odds and +115 the return on Seattle.
Both hurlers have been beaten up this spring and should be out to find a groove before the regular season begins. This might be Noesi's last shot to stay in the competition for a starting job in Seattle, and another poor effort could be a huge factor in a ticket to Triple-A. Capuano has been serving up long balls (5 IP, 4 HR) that might not be homers at pitching friendly Chavez Ravine. But things have gotten weird for the Dodgers with nobody seeming to want the No. 5 job in the rotation. A good start could mean a trade for Capuano...or Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly, and I'm guessing all three like their chances with the Dodgers better than nearly anywhere else.
It isn't supposed to rain Saturday in the Phoenix 'burbs, but it won't necessarily be a Chamber of Commerce day either. Cooler afternoon temps (low-60s for high), and with the rainouts on Friday, I like the arms available to Don Mattingly and LA.
BoSox Back Under Lights, Host Orioles
We were at Fenway South for our Friday night picks-slash-fades, so why not go back for Saturday's duel between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox? This is a nice matchup of lefties that we easily could see a time or two or three in the regular season with Wei-Yin Chen on the mound for Baltimore and Felix Doubront toeing the rubber for Boston.
The overnight MLB odds were the same as our first preview with the home team drawing -130 and the visitors getting a +110 return.
It's just the second official time out for both pitchers, and I feel a whole lot better backing Chen to have a solid 3-inning go than Doubront. Another +110 road dog for me.
My MLB picks: Twins +110, Dodgers -125, Orioles +110 at Pinnacle
Preseason Record: 1-3 (-$2.20, one rainout and one pending from Friday)