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Twins Must Solve Angels' Jered Weaver for First Win of Season
The Minnesota Twins won only 63 games last year, their fewest since the 1999 season. But the Twins expected to contend this season for a wild-card spot at worst with the healthy returns of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span.
Things haven’t started well, however, as at 0-4 Minnesota is the American League’s only winless team. And to get that first W, the Twins will have to beat Angels pitcher and 2011 AL Cy Young runner-up Jered Weaver on Wednesday night in Minneapolis. The Halos opened as -155 favorites on Bovada’s MLB baseball odds.
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Minnesota has lost it first four games for the first time since 1969 – they would win their division that year -- and they haven’t been close as the Twins have been outscored 20-6. Clearly the offense has been a major problem. Minnesota ranks last in the AL in runs, on-base percentage (.252) and slugging percentage (.240), and second to last in batting average (.165) and home runs (2). The Twins have used a different lineup in each of their four games.
Morneau is doing OK by hitting .308 but is without an RBI. Mauer is now arguably the most overpaid player in baseball and is hitting just .143. The team’s best player thus far has been new addition Josh Willingham, who is hitting .385 with both of the team’s homers and four of its six RBIs. The pitching staff hasn’t been much better, ranking 12th in the AL with a 5.18 ERA and without a quality start thus far.
Minnesota turns to presumed ace Carl Pavano on Wednesday night. Pavano (0-1, 5.14) surrendered four runs on five hits in seven innings of an Opening Day loss to the Orioles. The Halos counter with Weaver, who was the best pitcher in the AL last year not named Verlander. Weaver was 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA. And Weaver (1-0, 0.00) was brilliant in his first start of 2012, striking out 10 and allowing just four hits in a win over Kansas City. In 10 career outings against the Twins, Weaver is 5-2 with a 3.90 ERA.
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