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July 6, 2015 (Posted at 6:00 PM ET)

Tonight's pick is a 2% wager.

Take Baltimore Orioles (-112) on the Money Line against Minnesota Twins risking 2% of the bankroll.
(Chen and Hughes must start for wager to have action)

The Orioles travel to Target Field to open the series against the Twins. These two clubs are currently heading in opposite directions coming into this contest. The O's managed to snap out of their recent funk with an explosive 9-1 victory against the White Sox on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Twins welcomed back their most prized acquisition in the offseason, Ervin Santana to the lineup but couldn't get the job done as they fell to the Kansas City Royals in dramatic fashion. Santana pitcher masterfully in his return to the rotation, going 8 solid innings for his team but it was all for not. With the game ties heading into the bottom of the 9th, the Twins sent Blain Boyer to the hill. Boyer threw up an absolute stinker giving up the walk-off winner in without even recording an out. It was an extremely unfortunate way for the Twins to lose, especially given how well Santana pitched. It was an extremely emotinally deflating loss and one that we expect that to carry over into tonight’s contest. 

The Twins will likely be up against the wall tonight as the O's send their most reliable starting pitcher to the mound tonight in Wi-Yin Chen. The right-hander has been Buck Showalter’s most trusted option in the starting rotation this season. Chen comes into this contest with a 4-4 overall record; however he has pitched much better than his record shows this season. Chen has an ultra-impressive 2.84 ERA on the season and has given up more than three earned runs just one time all season and even that was a 4 earned run effort dating all the way back to May. The right-hander enters Target Field tonight having won his past three decisions. With the Baltimore bats heating up in last night's contest, we expect Chen's team to give him the support needed to have a chance for another win tonight.  

Minnesota will counter as they send Phil Hughes to the mound tonight. Hughes has been pitching well recently, but we don't necessarily believe it's been completely due to his quality mechanics. Over his last 3 starts he hasn't necessarily played the most potent of batting orders having faced the Reds, Cubs and White Sox. None of those teams are ones that truly strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. The veteran right-hander will also be pitching on an extra day of rest tonight which we don't necessarily believe will be to his benefit. While some believe extra rest equates to more time to heal, Major league pitchers train their minds and their bodies to be ready every 5th day. When a coach alters that cycle, it throws a pitcher off his normal routine which can prove to have disastrous results on the mound. We expect Hughes to struggle tonight against a lineup that has seen him many times in the past. The Baltimore offense has scored 40 more runs than Minnesota this season and this is a matchup that could potentially turn into a slugfest.

The Orioles are the better overall team in this contest and that's why are road favorites. They had struggled since dropping out of first place in the AL East but we believe after their effort last night against the White Sox that they are once again on the rise. Hughes has been hittable this season and we expect that the Baltimore bats will get to him early and often in this contest. The Orioles should have the edge with their starting pitching, bullpen and batting rotation. The Twins are also coming off what has been a long road trip and with this being their first game back at home, it may take them a day or two to get acclimated back into their comfort zone. This is the ideal opportunity for the Orioles to grab a win at Target Field and take a leg up in the series especially since they have Kevin Guasman on the mound tomorrow and his starts have often led to losses.  

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Twins have won only 3 of their last 11 series opening games.
  • Baltimore is 6-0 in Chen’s last 6 starts vs. teams with winning records. 
  • Twins are 1-5 in their last 6 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days.

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