Minnesota Twins (Carl Pavano) vs. Los Angeles Angels (Ervin Santana) Preview and Pick – Betting Line

Minnesota Twins (1-1) Carl Pavano, at Los Angeles Angels (1-1)
Ervin Santana, Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif., 10:05 PM EST,
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

by Badger of Predictem.com

Betting Line: Twins +140/Angels -150
Total: 9.5

Get the best MLB betting odds at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

The Minnesota Twins will try and slip out of Anaheim with a winning
series Wednesday night when they play the rubber match of their
opening three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels in Angel Stadium.

The Twins played a little long ball and got a quality start out of
starter Nick Blackburn last night to take game two 5-3. Joe Mauer,
Justin Morneau and J.J. Hardy all went big-fly for their first
homeruns of the season as Minnesota jumped out to a 3-0 1st inning
lead that the Angels just could never surmount the rest of the
evening despite a two-run shot by Torii Hunter in the 5th for his
first homerun of the year.

The Angels won the opener on Monday, 6-3, which means a series
victory in the rubber match will come down to each teams No. 3
starter when the Twins send right-hander Carl Pavano out to the mound against the Angels own right-hander Ervin Santana.

The professionals that decide the overnight odds set the betting line
for todays game with the Angels and Santana as -150 favorites on the
moneyline, making Pavano and the Twins an enticing +140 underdog on
the dimeline.

The over/under total opened at 9.5 and has held for the most part at
most books, although you will find a few online sportsbooks with
the total set at 10 for reduced odds of even or +105.

If the history of these two pitchers holds true again Wednesday, even
a high total of 10 might not be big enough to scare away bettors
since both Pavano and Santana have their share of warts.

Pavano was terrible in April last year (0-3), the year he surprised
many and resurrected his career, and his lifetime numbers in
baseballs opening month are equally as bad (12-15 in 36 GS, 4.85
ERA, .823 OPS allowed).

Pavano has also had his issues with the Angels and Angel Stadium, but
you have to look past his somewhat normal looking 2-1 record (4
starts) and solid 1.139 WHIP and .244 BAbip. But in two starts in
Angels Stadium Pavano has been tagged, to the tune of 16 hits and 11
runs in just 11.1 innings pitched, and all six of the homeruns hes
given up to the Angels in his four starts have come in Anaheims cozy

Kendry Morales is responsible for a good portion of that damage, as he is 2-for-3 with two bombs versus Pavano. Mike Napoli, Juan Rivera
and Bobby Abreu (.443 OBP in 50 AB) all have hit bombs against Pavano
too, and all four of the aforementioned players in the Angels lineup
have an OPS over 1.000 versus the former Marlin, Yankee and Indians

Santana, meanwhile, is normally a very good pitcher in April with a
career 9-3 record in 16 starts, and is tough to beat when hes on the
bump in Angel Stadium (.627 W-L%, 3.74 ERA at home is two points
lower than his road ERA).

But last year he missed the month of April due to arm problems, and
when he returned to the rotation later in the Summer he did not do
very well against the Twins, so handicapping him becomes a dilemma.
Will he pitch more like the numbers mentioned above, or will he pitch
like the two times the Twins shelled him last year (10.24 ERA, 14 H,
11 R in 9.2 IP)?

Go figure that Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are responsible for the most damage against Santana over their respective careers. Mauer is a
ridiculous 10-for-17 against Santana with a 1.000 slugging percentage
and 7 RBIs, while Morneau is slugging .800 (2 HR) with seven runs
batted in as well.

The Twins win in Anaheim last night was just their second in their last eight meetings at Angel Stadium.

The total of nine runs last night either fell right on the number
(9), or went under (if you had 9.5 or 10) depending on where you
wager. Thats significant only because if you had 9 and pushed, it
would make the over 9-1-3 in the last 13 head-to-head meetings (4-0-2
in Angel Stadium).

Badgers Pick: Despite the strong career numbers versus Pavano, just
about all of the players who have had success (Abreu, Rivera) against
him are scuffling out of the gate, along rookie third baseman Brandon
Wood. The Angels and Santana are not -150 better than the Twins,
especially with a struggling lineup, so the real value here is on
Minnesota. Take the underdog Twins at +140.