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Cubs acquire Tommy La Stella from the Braves
La Stella made his major league debut this past summer at age 25 and went on a bit of a hot streak out of the gate, but the second baseman wound up batting just .251/.328/.317 across 360 total plate appearances. The former eighth-round pick (2011) does have some pretty good minor league numbers, but hes not really considered a great prospect.
Vizcaino, 24, owns a 4.84 ERA in 22 1/3 career major league innings.
The Braves appear to be embarking on somewhat of a rebuild under new president of baseball operations John Hart and theyll now have more money to work with for international acquisitions.
Get a $100 Free Bet - Paid Cash - No rollovers2013-01-30
MLB: MLB Series Betting- Minnesota at Kansas City2010-04-23
The Minnesota Twins were picked to win the Central Division of the American League and they have gotten off to the kind of start that has propelled them right to the top with an 11-5 record. The Twins just completed their first-ever homestand at Target Field with 6-3 record and head back on the road where they have begun the year 5-2.
Kansas City was not picked to win the division and is not considered to be a contender. Thus far the Royals have also played to form with a 6-9 record. Don’t blame the offense; Kansas City is fourth in the AL in runs scored at 4.7. The culprit has been the relief pitching which has been atrocious with 6.95 ERA and five blown saves in less than three weeks.
These teams met last week in the Twin Cities with Minnesota winning the series and the Twins will look to go 5-0 in series to start 2010, as they embark on nine game road trip.
Minnesota has been spectacular as series starter with a 38-16 record playing on Friday’s over the last three seasons. They will give the ball to Carl Pavano (2-1, 4.96 ERA, 1.347 WHIP) who was roughed up for seven runs and 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings in last week’s 10-5 loss to the Royals, however he is 7-0 (+9.0 Units) against the money line in road games vs. teams who strand 6.9 or less runners on base per game over the last two seasons, thanks to run support of eight runs an outing. (Team's Record)
Kansas City is a +123 ML underdog with total Ov9.5 at Sportsbook.com and will start Gil Meche (0-1). The right-hander has been completely ineffective as seen with 11.58 ERA and WHIP of 2.358.
“Two games in a row where I can’t get away from the big inning, both happening early in the ballgame,” Meche said. “You’ve got to make better pitches. … If you don’t do that, you’re going to pay for it.” The Royals are the complete opposite of their opponent with 7-21 mark on Friday’s.
Game 1 Edge: Minnesota
The Kansas City offense has clicked much better with the much-traveled and injured Scott Podsednik being in the lineup. Podsednik is batting robust .449 and has also taken eight walks in his 13 starts. He’s also been a base-running thief, stealing seven of eight in 2010.
"I don't think there's a coincidence at all," manager Trey Hillman said of Podsednik being out of the lineup in two losses to Toronto this week. "You take that speed [out] of the lineup and you take that kind of on-base percentage, the threat of stealing a base, it's important, just because of the pace that he's kept up to this point.”
The Royals begin the series 2-4 at Kauffman Stadium and are horrendous 16-37 at home since last year and hand the horsehide to Luke Hochevar (2-0, 2.89, 1.393). The 26-year old righty was not at his best against the Twins last Sunday, with five walks along with six hits in his six innings, but he pitched his way out of several jams and got the win.
The old baseball pitching edict of “throw strikes” is a big reason why the Twins have started so well. Coming into the weekend the pitching staff has yielded a Major League-low 37 bases on balls, which helps prevents big innings.
Minnesota has won their last 18 of 23 against teams with losing records and will start Nick Blackburn (1-1, 6.05, 1.499). The deliberate right-hander is off two shaky starts (10 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings) and has to do a better job locating pitches, being tagged for six home runs in fewer than 20 innings this season. Blackburn and the Twinkies are 7-19 in his roads starts.
Game 2 Edge: Kansas City
There was a great deal of concern about Minnesota bullpen once closer Joe Nathan went down. To this point those concerns are unwarranted with 2.62 ERA, six for six in save chances and better than 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. If Kevin Slowey (2-1, 2.45, 1.255) can pitch like his last outing, the pen will be well-rested. Slowey has an easy arm motion and excellent feel for how to pitch and threw eight innings of one run; five-hit ball with 9 K’s and no walks.
In the series finale, Kansas City counters with Brian Bannister (0-1, 4.59, 1.302) who commands a 90-ish fastball that has late movement and curveball that has big sweeping motion. He pitched fairly well in first two starts in allowing three runs over 12+ innings but bullpen turned those potential wins into no-decision defeats. Bannister was smacked around at Toronto, which he blamed on poor mental preparation.
Game 3 Edge: Minnesota
For this week’s series selection, we bring in Rocky Atkinson of Rocketman Sports.com.
“I feel like Minnesota will win this series against Kansas City this weekend. Minnesota is 26-13 overall vs Kansas City the past 3 years including a very nice 14-4 at Kansas City. The key to this series is going to be the bullpens. Minnesota bullpen has a 2.62 ERA overall this year and a 1.45 ERA on the road this season. The Kansas City bullpen on the other hand, has been ripped this year with a 6.95 ERA overall and an 8.41 ERA at home on the season. Minnesota is third in runs scored and the Royals are dead last in the American League in runs allowed.”
Sportsbook.com series odds: Minnesota -155, Kansas City +125
StatFox Edge Pick: Minnesota
2010 Record – 1-1