In: MLB Free Picks8 Aug 2011
Chris Hodge, Free Picks Newsletter Editor
229-131-2 of last 362
MLB: Boston Red Sox (-115) vs. Minnesota Twins (+105) *Over/Under (8.5o -115)
I’ve been declaring Tim Wakefield’s career as being over going on a decade now, but like so many knuckleballers before him, the Niekros, Charlie Hough, and Tom Candiotti, he just keeps on baffling hitters just enough to keep his job.
The Red Sox just took over first place in the AL East, and it will be up to Wakefield to keep that momentum going and pull down another win to keep the Yankees at bay. Boston fans are nervous about this duty falling onto Wakefield’s shoulders, as they should be.
Wakefield has one start against the Twins this season, and that one start remains one of Wakefield’s worst of the season. In 4.1 innings, he allowed nine hits, six earned runs and the Twins won the game 9-2.
Guess who pitched for Minnesota in that 9-2 contest in Boston back in May? Scott Baker.
Baker gets the ball again tonight.
Baker has allowed just 12 earned runs over his last seven starts. His last outing was a short one, only three innings in which he threw 77 pitches, but considering the situation the results weren’t that bad. Five hits, three earned runs and four walks were just enough to get him pulled early.
In eight starts at home this season, Baker has posted a 1.78 ERA, a 5-1 record, and opponents are hitting just .213 against him.
In May, the Tigers scored five runs on Baker in Minnesota, but since that time, he’s allowed just one run over his last six starts, totalling 41 innings, at home.
Quite a few Red Sox have had success against Baker. The lineup as a whole is hitting .270 against him throughout their careers, and one out five hits they’ve accumulated against him have left the ballpark. Many of those homers were solo shots, which, when it comes to the pitchers’ perspective, are the best kind.
The Red Sox have been hot lately, but Baker has been dealing Kryptonite at home for months now. The pressure is on Wakefield tonight. If he takes the mound and bombs, the Twins should be able to make the most of it with Baker shutting down the Sox.
The Twins have seen Wakefield before, as their 9-2 win in May reveals, and they should be comfortable in the box against him.
Patience, small ball and good pitching put the Twins on top in this one.
Pick: Take the Minnesota Twins (+105)