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MLB: One more in Minnesota ought to do it
What is the deal with baseball teams not being able to determine a winner after playing 162 games? In the entire history of Major League Baseball, there has only been eight previous one game playoffs to determine a division or league winner, however this will be the third in three years when Detroit travels to Minnesota. The Twins, who’ve rallied furiously over the last few weeks to catch the Tigers, are a heavy -165 favorite, but the betting action has been split fairly evenly thus far at Sportsbook.com.
This is turning out to be quite a 24-hour period at the Metrodome, with Brett Favre facing his old team and Vikings fans in full throat going up against the North Division rival the Green Bay Packers. This is followed up on Tuesday with AL Central rivals Detroit and the Twins having to settle their differences in the diamond.
The Twins and Tigers finished with identical 86-76 records; however there is no doubt who has the momentum. Minnesota closed the season 16-4, which included four victories over Detroit to force a second straight 163rd game. Besides playing exceptional baseball, the Twins will have the home field advantage, which is as intimidating a place in baseball when the place is packed. Officials in Minnesota decided to pull back the upper-deck outfield curtain to expand seating to more than 50,000 fans for the game. Tickets sold out within minutes. The Twins are 48-33 on their home field this season
"Every pitch," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, "will be a roar."
The Tigers could use a roar of their own, winning four times in last 10 games to find themselves in this predicament. Subtract the 12-5 win over Chicago on Sept. 26 and the Detroit offensive has tallied 3.1 runs per game to finish the season. From a matchup standpoint, not many strong points for the Tigers to rally around with 7-11 record vs. Minnesota this season (the reason the game is in Minneapolis), including a 2-7 record when playing under the roof.
Playing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and 50,000 screaming Twins fans is part of the reason the Tigers finished 35-46 on the road this year. Manager Leyland is hoping the bats wake up, with his club is 24-11 having lost three of their last four games this season.
What a spot for a rookie pitcher, which is what Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.40 ERA) faces. Porcello closed strong with a 2-1 record, not allowing more than three runs in any of his last four starts. The down side for the right-hander is 0-2 mark, with a 6.30 ERA in two starts at the Metrodome.
Sportsbook.com has Minny as -165 money line favorites with total Un8.5. Scott Baker (15-9, 4.36) has the assignment for Ron Gardenhire and likes the setup. “There's no way to go around the fact that we're playing in the Dome and not in Detroit," said Twins right-hander. "I think we've seen in the past how well we play in front of our fans and how much it can affect the outcome of the game. We're all very excited to be here at the Dome."
Minnesota is 24-7 in home games with an on-base percentage of .360 or better over their last 15 games and they are 24-7 when Baker starts as a favorite of -125 to -175 over the last three seasons.
For totals players, the side might be an indication of how to bet the total. The Twinkies are 14-5 OVER at home with a hot bullpen whose ERA is under 3.00 the last 15 games this season. Detroit on the other hand is 16-6 UNDER as an underdog of +125 to +175 in 2009.
Don’t look to history to leave many clues, with the home team 4-4 in play-in games. First pitch is 5:07 Eastern on TBS and possibly the winner is told by the line. Detroit is 30-59 as a road underdog of +100 or higher over the last two seasons and Minnesota is 76-40 as a home favorite of -110 or higher in the same time span.
The winner gets the Yankees in New York on Wednesday to start ALDS.
StatFox Power Line – Minnesota -139