Twins and Orioles to Go ‘Over’ Is The MLB Pick For Opening Day

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, April 4, 2016 2:42 PM GMT

In the season opener for both teams, the total seems to be set a tad low for an MLB pick in a matchup of two suspect pitchers when the Minnesota Twins visit the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

 

There could be a higher scoring game than the posted total suggests in the season opener for both teams Monday when Ervin Santana and the Minnesota Twins (0-0, 0-0 away) pay a visit to the fellow right-hander Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles (0-0, 0-0 home) at Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD at 3:05 ET in a game available on MASN. The posted total at 5 Dimes is 8½ or this contest with the current MLB odds on the ‘over’ set at -120.

 

Two Different Approaches
After probably overachieving while making the playoffs the previous two seasons, the Orioles regressed to an even 81-81 as MLB picks and a third place finish in the American League East last season. Nonetheless, the biggest move for Baltimore during the off-season was perhaps overpaying to re-sign Chris Davis, so this is a team that has the same veteran core as last season, when it ranked third in the majors in home runs while averaging 4.40 runs per game.

The Twins also return mostly the same lineup, except that this is a very young team that may benefit from its experience last year, when Minnesota surprised just about everyone by going from last place two seasons ago to being in playoff contention until the latter part of the season, eventually finishing second in the American League Central at 83-79, an increase of 13 wins from the prior year.

 

Tillman Returned to Earth Last Season
Like most of the Orioles, Tillman performed better than his peripheral numbers indicated he should during the 2013 and 2014 Baltimore playoff seasons, when Buck Showalter showed that he is one of the best managers in baseball by getting so much out of seemingly so little. Last season though, Tillman actually had similar peripheral numbers as the prior two years, except this time his mainstream numbers finally converged to his peripherals, as is usually the case.

Thus Tillman finished just 11-11 with a bloated 4.99 ERA, which was basically in line with his 4.45 FIP and 4.48 xFIP. That was a far cry from 2014, when Tillman somehow managed a 3.34 ERA despite a FIP and xFIP both over 4.00, as he was aided by a lucky .267 BABIP allowed. Last year the BABIP normalized to .293, so we basically saw Tillman’s true level at the surface.

Tillman has faced the Twins once each of the last three seasons with all three of those starts coming here at home, and the results have not been pretty for the most part with Tillman allowing nine earned runs on 17 hits plus nine walks over just 15.1 innings.

 

Questionable Ace
As for Santana, he is not a terrible Major League pitcher by any means but he does not profile to be an opening day starter, so the fact that he is points to some troubles for the Minnesota starting rotation to begin this year. The savvy veteran finished 7-5 with exactly a 4.00 ERA last season after not getting his first start until July due to serving a PED suspension.

Santana was merely adequate as his mediocre ERA actually outperformed his FIP (4.17) and especially his xFIP (4.42), which is never a good sign and especially not when pitching at a hitter-friendly stadium like Camden Yards. And remember that while he is facing more or less the same Baltimore lineup that banged out 217 home runs last year, the Orioles did make one addition in free agent Pedro Alvarez, whose swing could be perfect for this stadium.

Thus, both of these starters can give up enough runs here to push this game ‘over’ before the two bullpens get a chance to save the day somewhat.

 

Higher Scoring Games at Camden Yards
Finally, while the Orioles are potent offensively regardless of the venue, they are especially lethal here at Camden Yards as the ‘over’ went 13-3 in their last 16 home games last season. Furthermore, they are more dangerous vs. right-handed starters, with the ‘over’ going 20-6-2 in the last 28 Baltimore games vs. right-handers overall and 10-2 in their last 12 games against them at Camden Yards.

We do not expect anything different as these teams start a brand new season, so go ‘over’ the relatively modest total when Minnesota visits Baltimore at Camden Yards on Monday.

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Free MLB Pick: 'Over' 9 (-101)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle