New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins Preview and Pick (Andy Pettite vs. Francisco Liriano) – Betting Line

New York Yankees (26-18) Andy Pettitte, at Minnesota Twins (26-18)
Francisco Liriano, Target Field, Minneapolis, Minn., 7:10 PM EST,
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

by Badger of

Betting Line: Yankees -115/Twins +105
Total: 9

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The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins will give it another try
at Target Field in Minneapolis tonight after last nights opener was
suspended after five innings due to rain with no score.

After these two 26-18 teams finish the opener, two left-handers will
try and bounce back from dismal outings in the nightcap when Andy
and Francisco Liriano toe the rubber in a game scheduled to
be shown nationally on ESPN.

The Pettitte-Liriano matchup will be a rematch of a game played at
Yankee Stadium on May 15th, when Pettitte outdueled Liriano to give
the Yanks a 7-1 victory. That win gave the Pinstripes a 12-game win
streak over the Twins, a streak the Twins snapped the next day in
dramatic fashion on a grand slam by Jason Kubel off of closer Mariano

The Twins will be trying to build off the momentum Kubels slam
provided, but with two wins in their last six games that fickle
Uncle Mo might have been washed away with yesterdays rainout.

The good news as far as the Twins are concerned is that the Yankees
are also struggling right now, winning just once in their last five
games including big losses to rival Boston and Tampa Bay before
dropping two of three to the Mets in interleague play.

Oddsmakers are expecting another pitchers duel in the nightcap,
listing the Yankees and Pettitte as slim -115 favorites on the
moneyline. The Twins are listed as high as +105 at sportsbooks with
dimelines or reduced juice.

The over/under total opened at 9 on the overnight line and has held
there at most books on the Web, but there are several that have
dropped the total down to 8.5, so shop around if you want the hook
but you may have to pay extra for it.

As mentioned before, both lefties are attempting to bounce back from
bad outings last turn through as both fell victim to the long ball.

After starting off the season gangbusters, Liriano has since fallen
on hard times losing three straight including a 6-2 loss to Boston
last time out when he gave up two game-killing homeruns. In the May
15th game Liriano pitched better (6 IP, 3 R), but Pettitte was much
better (6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R) and propelled the Yanks to the win. Liriano
is a much better pitcher at home (2.92 ERA in 28 home starts) than he
is on the road though (5.01 ERA in 38 road starts).

But Pettitte was equally bad in his last turn through, giving up
three homeruns in an 8-6 loss at Tampa Bay last Thursday. History is
on Pettittes side in the matchup versus the Twins though, as he is
10-5 in 20 starts against them with decent splits (3.53 ERA, .321
OBP, .691 OPS) over the years.

If this game was back in the old Metrodome Pettitte would likely be a
larger favorite on the moneyline, since Pettitte went 4-1 with a 2.74
ERA in his last six starts indoors.

There are a few players you can expect to be in the lineup for the
second game, guys like Delmon Young (9-for-16, 1.250 OPS) and Brendan
Harris (8-for-19) who have had good success against Pettitte in the
past. Liriano one the other hand will have to find a way to get the
Yankees captain out, as Derek Jeter is 4-for-9 with a homer and a
1.278 OPS against the lefty in a limited sample.

So far in 2010 the Twins new stadium Target Field has been playing
like a big yard, with the under going 13-7-2 in the 22 games played
there. Two of the three games these two teams played in Yankee
Stadium earlier in May finished under as well, and the under was
6-3-1 in the 10 games in 2009, so Ill let you decide if thats a
betting trend or not.

The Yankees are 7-1 in Pettittes eight starts this season, and they are also 7-1 in his last eight starts against the Twins.

Badgers Pick: I think Liriano is starting to experience a tired arm
at this point in the season, having pitched all winter to earn his
way back into the Twins rotation. Theres no other explanation for
his rapid collapse in his last 3 starts (1.68 WHIP, 7.02 ERA, 6.7
AA). I dont really want to back Pettitte and the Yanks here, but
Lirianos recent performance has made it that way. Take the Yankees
at -115.